South Hadley strip club sued over drunken patron’s death

  • Anthony’s Dance Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/12/2020 3:40:23 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The family of a man who died when he was struck by a motor vehicle in December 2018 after leaving a South Hadley strip club is suing the business for negligence and wrongful death, alleging that employees knowingly served him too much alcohol and failed to help him get home.

Christopher Humphrey, 29, an Easthampton High School graduate, died after being hit by a car in the early morning hours of Dec. 21, 2018, while he was walking on Route 202 in South Hadley from Anthony’s Dance Club in the town, according to the lawsuit and Humphrey’s obituary.

The lawsuit against Anthony’s was filed last week in Hampshire Superior Court by Humphrey’s estate through his representative and mother, Cecile Humphrey.

Attorneys Stella Xanthakos and Michael Malkovich, of Northampton law firm Xanthakos & Malkovich, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Humphreys. Reached by phone Thursday morning, Xanthakos declined to comment.

According to corporate filings kept by the state, Helen Santaniello, of Longmeadow, is the president, treasurer, secretary, and director of Anthony’s Dance Club at 500 New Ludlow Road in South Hadley. Santaniello could not be reached for comment. A phone number listed for Anthony’s listed online was disconnected.

The lawsuit states that Christopher Humphrey had arrived at Anthony’s around 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 20 and began ordering and drinking alcohol served by the bartenders. Humphrey had consumed alcohol earlier that night.

He remained at Anthony’s until closing time, which is listed on Google as 2 a.m., “and during this period, was provided numerous alcoholic drinks by agents of Anthony’s,” the lawsuit states. Humphrey was “obviously intoxicated and displayed visible signs of intoxication” at the time Anthony’s bartenders served him drinks but employees continued to serve him anyway, according to the lawsuit.

At closing time, Humphrey was “extremely intoxicated,” and his level of drunkenness was “obvious and apparent” to employees, the lawsuit alleges. Despite knowing he was drunk, the lawsuit claims Anthony’s employees “failed to take measures to protect him from harming himself,” allowing him to leave without providing transportation. The lawsuit asserts that employees watched an obviously drunken Humphrey try to get a ride home in the parking lot and that they “failed to intervene to provide assistance or arrange for his transportation home.”

“Employees and agents of Anthony’s knew, or should have known, that Humphrey was so obviously intoxicated that he presented a danger to himself, if not assisted, and despite this knowledge allowed him to leave on foot and/or provided partial transportation,” the lawsuit reads.

When Humphrey left Anthony’s, it was dark, raining and foggy, the lawsuit states. Around 3:15 a.m., while walking, Humphrey was fatally struck by a car.

The lawsuit argues that Anthony’s violation of state law prohibiting licensed establishments from serving alcohol to an already intoxicated person constituted negligence and a “breach of its duty of care” owed to Humphrey, and was “a direct and proximate cause” of his death. The lawsuit demands a trial by jury and calls for Anthony’s to pay damages in an unspecified amount.

Michael Connors can be reached at
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