Augusta Liddic/The Daily TimesA lawsuit was filed against Top Deck on Wednesday alleging the business employs bouncers that have used force against Native
Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times A lawsuit was filed against Top Deck on Wednesday alleging the business employs bouncers that have used force against Native Americans.
FARMINGTON — A man who was beaten allegedly by several bouncers at the Top Deck nightclub and his wife have sued the bar claiming it violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act by employing bouncers who have a pattern of assaulting Native Americans.

Dustin and Veronica Curley filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in 11th Judicial District Court.

The lawsuit stems from a St. Patrick's Day assault that left Dustin Curley, a Navajo, with permanent injuries.

Dustin Curley, his brother Justin Curley and several friends went to Top Deck on March 17. While they were leaving the bar at 1:30 a.m., Justin Curley got into an argument about military service with Jeffrey Kelly, a customer at the bar.

Dustin Curley said he was trying to break up the argument when he was attacked by Tyler Black, who worked as a bouncer for the bar, the suit alleges.

The lawsuit also alleges that Black, Dustin Jacobs another bouncer at the bar and three unknown bouncers attacked Dustin Curley.

Dustin Curley was punched in the face, fell to ground and went into convulsions, the suit says. Justin Curley was also thrown to the ground and kicked in the face by a bouncer, the lawsuit says.

Black also punched Dustin Curley's friend, Joel Saurer, and then ordered Saurer and Kelly the only nonnatives present to leave while bouncers continued to beat Dustin Curley, according to the suit.


Advertisement

Dustin Curley was taken to San Juan Regional Medical and then flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque where he was treated for a broken nasal bone and severe injuries to his right eye, the suit says.

He has lost most of the vision in his right eye and doctors do not believe he will regain his vision, said Christian Hatfield, one of the attorneys representing the Curleys.

Black was charged with felony aggravated battery in the incident. His case is pending.

The lawsuit refers only to Dustin Curley's beating, but Hatfield said the suit will be amended to include more examples of racially motivated violence by bar employees.

Hatfield encouraged other residents who have been assaulted by employees at the bar to come forward.

"There appears to be a pattern of engaging in discrimination and violence as a form of sport and entertainment at Top Deck," Hatfield said.

Hatfield said the Curleys will be seeking "significant" damages because of the assault. Dustin Curley has already had tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills because of the assault, Hatfield said.

Susan and Matthew Douglas own Top Deck and Copper Penny, the liquor store attached to the bar, through Douglas, Inc.

The incorporation was created in July 2007 and is not in good standing with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, according to the agency's website.

The Douglases did not return a call for comment on Wednesday.

Top Deck, which is at 515 E. Main St., has a history of violence.

Police responded to the bar 270 times since May 2011, according to Farmington police statistics. The bar is opened 208 days a year from Wednesday to Saturday.

Farmington police previously said the bar's bouncers may be exacerbating the fights.

"We have a lot of fights" at Top Deck, Farmington police Cpl. David Karst said in June.