Statesboro Teen Wrongful Death Lawsuit Appeal Off to Supreme Court

The parents of 18-year-old Michael Gatto are appealing a judge’s ruling that the city of Statesboro and the city clerk are not responsible for their son’s death in 2014. The Statesboro teen wrongful death lawsuit was filed in 2016.

Gatto, a freshman at Georgia Southern University succumbed to his injuries after a bouncer beat him outside Rude Rudy’s, a Statesboro bar. Gatto suffered head injuries and was found unresponsive. He was treated at East Georgia Regional Medical Center and subsequently airlifted to Memorial Medical Center, where he died.

Court documents show that the teen’s parents filed a lawsuit against the city and city clerk in 2016. The Statesboro teen wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the city was negligent in allowing the bar to stay open even though they knew about multiple incidents of criminal activity.

However, the judge ruled that the city has immunity in nuisance claims and the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld this ruling. The Gattos are now taking the matter to the Georgia Supreme Court which they hope will reverse the decision. 

Twenty-year-old Grant Spencer was sentenced to 20 years in jail for aggravated assault as part of a plea deal. However, Gatto’s parents continued to agitate for more to be done. They’ve tried to ensure that bars are safer for college students and successfully lobbied for Michael’s Law. 

This piece of legislation bans individuals under the age of 21 from entering a bar in Georgia and requires bar staff to be at least 21. The Gattos have also called for additional training for bar owners and staff.

If your loved one’s death was due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. A Georgia wrongful death attorney can investigate and help you to build a case.


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