For weddings gone awry, it doesn’t get much worse than a bouncer punching the bride and then kicking the groom’s ass.
That’s what newlyweds William and Susan Dailey claim happened at McFadden’s Saloon&Restaurant, according to a lawsuit filed Aug. 17 in Multnomah County Circuit Court against the popular upscale Old Town bar.
McFadden’s general manager Jared Fleming says his staff did nothing wrong. But the couple claim their wedding day was ruined.
“Every girl growing up has their dream wedding in their head,” says Susan Dailey. “My wedding day comes in my mind quite a bit, and I am just really upset.”
Because the bride’s family is Mormon, no alcohol was served at the Nov. 20, 2005, wedding in Oregon City. After the reception, most of the wedding party decided to have a few drinks at McFadden’s. The newlyweds claim no one had a drop to drink beforehand, themselves included, when they arrived at McFadden’s at midnight in tux and wedding gown.
In the Daileys’ version of events, a 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound bouncer named Steve Lovejoy demanded at the door that the groom remove his bowler because it violated the bar’s dress code against hats. He took it off, but as he was entering the bar, Lovejoy took a swing. The groom ducked, and the punch hit the bride in the mouth.
That caused the 5-foot-9-inch, 155-pound groom “to become upset,” according to the lawsuit. Then three bouncers threw him against a parked car, tackled him to the sidewalk, kicked him and slammed his head against the ground.
Wondering about the proper wedding-party etiquette if this happens to you? Linda Johnson, a wedding planner for 30 years in Portland, says a beating would be a difficult event for a party to overcome. “From a wedding planner’s point of view, I don’t know what could really be done,” she says.
The couple called the cops, and an officer interviewed them at the Fifth Avenue Suites Hotel (now Hotel Monaco), where they were staying. According to the police report, the bride had a swollen lip and a dark red mark, like “pooled blood under the skin.” The groom wore a torn tuxedo shirt and pants, with dried blood on his clothes. Neither went to the hospital.
The cop then interviewed Lovejoy, who told a different story. He said the groom refused to remove his hat, then “bum-rushed” Lovejoy and “turned into the Tasmanian Devil.” The fight “turned into a hornet’s nest,” he said, when the bride jumped in the middle, hitting and kicking other employees.
Both sides agree the police arrived and hauled the groom away in cuffs, then released him around the corner from the bar. Two months after the event, Lovejoy reported a threatening phone call to his home from a man who identified himself as “the groom” and told Lovejoy, “You’re fucking with the wrong family,” according to a police report.
In separate lawsuits, the Daileys ask for $5,500 each from McFadden’s for injuries and emotional distress. The couple is still married and lives in Southeast Portland. Susan, 26, is an orthodontist’s assistant. William, 29, owns an exterior-maintenance business.
Lovejoy, 38, is still employed as a bouncer at the bar. Fleming says he didn’t fire Lovejoy because he did nothing wrong. “Stephen [Lovejoy] was assaulted that night. I was there, and I witnessed it,” Fleming says. “It is unfortunate that it all happened.”