Jack Didley's in Kennewick faces lawsuit

A Western Washington man is suing a Kennewick nightclub and several of its employees -- including a former general manager being sentenced next week for third-degree assault -- for physically attacking him two years ago.

Kitsap County resident Michael D. Cates allegedly was assaulted on two occasions at Jack Didley's in February 2011, according to a lawsuit filed in Benton Superior Court, leaving him with nerve damage and vision loss. He is seeking an unspecified amount of money.

Late-afternoon phone calls left Friday for Jack Didley's owner Todd Jones and Cates' attorney, Douglas Phelps of Spokane, were not immediately returned.

Cates was at the nightclub Feb. 18, 2011, when he saw some employees assaulting a female patron, the lawsuit said. When he expressed concern, those employees assaulted him and pushed him out of the bar, causing him to fall on his back on the sidewalk outside. The incident left Cates with severe back pain, as he previously had injured his back in a work-related accident.

Cates returned to Jack Didley's several hours later and asked to speak to the owner or manager regarding the treatment he received earlier, the lawsuit said. The employees he spoke with assaulted him and pushed him outside.

When Cates started to bang on the nightclub door, six to seven employees came outside and assaulted him again, shoving him and throwing him into the street, striking his head and stomping on him, the lawsuit said. The resulting injuries will require ongoing care and treatment.

The lawsuit names as defendants Jones, former general manager Matthew Thomas Hibbard, bouncers Benjamin Adam Trudeau and Michael H. Eisele, and up to five unknown employees also employed as bouncers at the time.

Cates also alleges that he was falsely arrested, charged and incarcerated for assault, forcing him to pay attorney costs and lose his reputation.

Hibbard was convicted of third-degree assault Jan. 31 for dropping Richland resident Ben Ensign, 32, on his head on the sidewalk outside Jack Didley's in July, fracturing his skull. Hibbard faces one to three months in jail at minimum, though he could be sentenced for as much as five years.

Ensign continues to be treated at a Spokane rehabilitation center.