Bouncer Laws and Regulations

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What Are Bouncer Laws?

Bouncer laws are those laws and regulations that govern the liability of security personnel at various institutions, also known as bouncers. These are persons who are hired to maintain control and safety of crowds at places such as dance clubs, bars, concerts, sporting events, and other similar gatherings. They are usually trained to handle the public, and can sometimes be required to handle volatile situations such as bar fights and other incidents.

Can Bouncers Use Physical Force?

In almost all cases, bouncers are authorized by their employers to use physical force in order to perform functions such as:

However, bouncers are normal citizens and don’t have any authority to use force beyond what a normal citizen can do. That is, as in any tort situation, force cannot be used unless it is first used against the bouncer. Also, the bouncer must respond with an amount of force that is appropriate and that is proportionate to the situation at hand.

Thus, for instance, if a patron is wielding a weapon, then the bouncer will likely be justified in wielding a weapon of their own, such as pepper spray. On the other hand, if the patron is not even threatening anyone with the physical violence, it is not really justifiable for the bouncer to use physical force.

What If a Bouncer Violates Laws or Regulations?

Bouncers are not immune to liability just because of their role. They are bound to various tort and criminal laws as well. Thus, if they use excessive force, or if they use force in a situation where it is clearly uncalled for, they may become liable for the other party’s injuries. In some cases, criminal charges may also result, especially where the bouncer intentionally causes unnecessary injury to the other person.

Lastly, the establishment that employed the bouncer can sometimes be held liable under principles of vicarious liability. For instance, if the establishment specifically authorized the bouncer to break the law, they can be held liable as well for damages.

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Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Bouncer Laws and Regulations?

Understanding how bouncer laws work can sometimes be difficult. You may wish to hire a qualified attorney in your area if you need legal advice or representation regarding nightclubs and bouncer liability. Your attorney will be able to inform you of your legal options, and can represent you during a lawsuit or court hearing.

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Last Modified: 07-14-2014 03:48 PM PDT

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