Trial begins in Top Deck discrimination lawsuit

Steve Garrison
Top Deck, as seen Monday at 515 E. Main Street in Farmington.

AZTEC — A civil trial is set to begin Tuesday over allegations staff at Top Deck, a Farmington night club, beat-up two Navajo patrons in a racially charged attack in 2012.

Brothers Justin Curley and Dustin Curley allege in the lawsuit they were beaten up by bouncers and a bar manager outside the bar at 515 E. Main St. on St. Patrick's Day in 2012.

Dustin Curley lost permanent vision in his right eye after he was allegedly punched in the face by bouncer Tyler Black, according  to the civil complaint. Plaintiffs allege Top Deck manager Matt Douglas pushed and punched Justin Curley, who was also kicked in the face by bouncer Drew Jackson.

Black was charged with felony aggravated battery in connection to the incident, but later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. The other men were not charged, according to court records.

An attorney for the brothers, Mitch Burns, did not respond to a request for comment. An attorney for Susan Douglas, Emet Rudolfo, declined to comment.

The brothers claim in the lawsuit none of the men were wearing uniforms that identified them as bar employees. Instead, their shirts read: "Made in Ireland," according to the complaint.

The brothers further claim Douglas and his wife, Susan Douglas, discouraged staff from contacting police during disputes and discriminated against Native American patrons.

Susan Douglas is further accused of destroying surveillance video of the brawl, according to the complaint.

The brothers claim civil battery, negligent hiring, intentional and negligent infliction of emotion distress, spoliation of evidence and violations of the New Mexico Human Rights Act.

Susan Douglas, Matt Douglas, Black, Jackson and another bouncer, Dustin Jacobs, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Defendants have requested a 12-person jury trial. The trial is set to conclude Wednesday.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.