The widow of a man whom a security guard killed outside Dream On Saloon in 2019 agreed Oct. 18 to a $200,000 settlement from the owners of the deep Southeast Portland nightclub.
The club’s security guard shot and killed Eugene Pharr, an unarmed 42-year-old, in the parking lot on Jan. 15, 2019.
“This is not a fair result—there are no ‘fair’ results in wrongful death cases,” says the Pharrs’ attorney, Michael Fuller. “However, the settlement may help provide a sense of closure to the family.”
Pharr’s wife, Elaine, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the club, which is owned by A&O Enterprises, and the security guard, Francisco Swafford, in 2019 after a Multnomah County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by Swafford, in part due to Oregon’s “stand your ground” laws, WW reported at the time.
The settlement arrives as nightclubs in the central city rely increasingly on squads of armed guards to deter gun violence (“Hired Guns,” WW, Aug. 11, 2021).
In an amended complaint filed in the wrongful death case last December, the plaintiffs sought $4.5 million in economic and non-economic damages, and the case was set for a jury trial in January.
“As a result of defendants’ wrongful behavior as alleged in this complaint, Mr. Pharr Jr. lost his life,” the amended complaint says. “Mr. Pharr Jr.’s loss of life was avoidable, and was a reasonably foreseeable result of defendants’ wrongful behavior.”
Fuller says that on Monday, “The insurance company for the defense tendered policy limits of $200,000, which the estate accepted, pending any required court approval.”
Court records list Elaine Pharr as the representative of her husband’s estate, which also includes Mr. Pharr’s mother, son, and four daughters.
Attorneys for Swafford and Dream On Saloon did not respond to WW’s request for comment.