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$3.26 Million Paid in Fall at Nightclub


By Curtis Lum, Advertiser Staff Writer

California man who was paralyzed after falling from an elevated dance stage in 1997 has been paid a $3.26 million settlement by the former owner of a Waikiki nightclub.

Duy Phun, now 24, of Los Angeles, suffered a neck injury when he fell from a 3-foot high stage at the Maharaja nightclub at the Waikiki Trade Center. Phun’s injuries left him a quadriplegic.

Phun’s attorney, Mark Davis, called the settlement “substantial,” but fair.

Phun is confined to a wheelchair, Davis said.

Phun sued the club’s owner, Nova International of Japan, in circuit court, alleging the stage was hazardous because the company took no steps to prevent such accidents. Davis said there were signs warning patrons that they danced at their own risk, but he said the 30-inch-wide stage lacked safety measures such as railings.

“When somebody walks in a club and sees that this is someplace that the owners expect the patrons to go, which is up on the dancing stages, you don’t have an appreciation of the problems associated with that,” Davis said. “Even though it said dance at your own risk, it also implied that this was a place for dancing, which it never should have been.”

The Maharaja club closed about six months after the June 7, 1997 incident.

Phun’s suit also accused Maharaja security guards of carrying him without realizing the severity of his injuries.

Nova International attorney David Louie disputed some claims in the lawsuit but also said the settlement was a “reasonable allocation.”