Family of victim files lawsuit in one-punch death

Updated 9/8/2014 7:55 PM
  • Michael Platt

    Michael Platt

  • Ryan Flannigan

    Ryan Flannigan

  • Ryan Flannigan, far right, with his parents, Timothy and Debra, and sisters Courtney and Carly

    Ryan Flannigan, far right, with his parents, Timothy and Debra, and sisters Courtney and Carly Courtesy of the Flannigan family

The family of a 26-year-old Palatine man who died after he was punched in the head filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Monday in Cook County.

The lawsuit names 35-year-old Michael Platt, who authorities say punched Ryan Flannigan about 11:30 p.m. July 18 after an altercation outside Pop's Bar and Grill in Palatine. Flannigan, who witnesses say was attempting to defuse the situation, fell and struck his head on the sidewalk. He died 10 days later.

Police called the attack on Flannigan unprovoked. Platt, also of Palatine, has been charged with first-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.

The lawsuit also names as co-defendant Trazom Inc., the corporation that owns the bar, under the Illinois Dram Shop Act, which holds businesses liable if they continue to serve an intoxicated patron. The lawsuit also alleges that Pop's failed to protect its patrons, specifically Ryan Flannigan. The Flannigan family seeks at least $50,000 in damages.

"This was an unprovoked assault and murder that has devastated this family," said Tim Cavanagh, the Flanigan family attorney. "The family wants answers, and (filing this lawsuit) is the only way they will be able to get the defendant's testimony under oath."

Ryan Flannigan was at the bar with his older sisters, Courtney and Carly, and some friends "for what should have been a fun night at a local pub," Cavanagh said.

Instead, their night out turned to tragedy, which Cavanagh said could have been prevented had Platt -- who the family believes was overserved -- and the bar owners and employees behaved responsibly, Cavanagh said.

Platt and representatives of Trazom were not immediately available for comment.

The family's civil case will proceed with discovery and witness depositions while the criminal case is pending, said Cavanagh, but it's unlikely it will be resolved before the criminal case concludes.

Flannigan's family members, including parents Timothy and Debra, plan to attend every court hearing, Cavanagh said.

Platt next appears in court on Sept. 29. If convicted of first-degree murder, he faces between 20 and 60 years in prison.

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