Mother files wrongful death lawsuit

A Pierce County woman whose son died days after a fight in Bellevue Square back in 2012 is suing its owner, the bar where it occurred and the man alleged to have fatally injured Jacob A. Steinle.

Paula Harmes filed the wrongful death lawsuit in King County Superior Court on Feb. 14 – exactly two years after her son's death – naming Kemper Development as a defendant because its Bellevue Square security guards allegedly did not intervene soon enough Feb. 10, 2012, when Steinle became engaged in an altercation with Dain Cilley at the former Munchbar location. It also faults the development company as the bar's landlord at the time of the incident.

The complaint states Steinle was with a friend at Munchbar between midnight and 2 a.m. that morning when they became involved in an altercation with Cilley that ended outside. Cilley is alleged to have struck Steinle in the face, causing his head to strike the wall of the establishment and leaving behind a dent. Kemper Security only intervened after the assault occurred, the complaint states.

Steinle reportedly complained about facial pain over the next few days leading up to his death. The complaint states Steinle was found dead by his brother in an apartment they shared after he returned home from work around 5 p.m. Feb 14, 2012.

The suit claims Steinle died from a concussive brain injury preceded by a seizure brought on as a result of being punched by Cilley, stating he is liable for battery and/or assault. The King County Medical Examiner's Office listed Steinle's cause of death as undetermined, adding it did not have to do with a toxicological or disease-related condition.

The complaint faults Munchbar for allegedly continuing to serve Cilley that night despite his apparent drunkenness and aggressive behavior, citing a history of violence by patrons at the bar from the time it opened to its closure in late 2012. Munchbar is a Nevada LLC that still operates a location in Las Vegas. Munchbar is also accused of breach of duty for not intervening in the altercation and negligence for "failure to notify customers of its storied history of liquor violations and 911 calls."

Harmes is seeking damages and recovery of court costs related to the suit, which was filed "for the benefit of the minor children of Jacob A. Steinle."


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