PATRONS WILDLY dancing on a stripper pole at a Philly nightclub and hookah lounge knocked hot hookah coals down a patron's breasts, the woman claims in a lawsuit, but the club's manager said she's making a mountain out of a molehill and the suit is a booby trap.
In a civil suit filed this week in Common Pleas Court, Katelyn Sobon said she was a patron of the Trilogy Nightclub & Hookah Lounge on Spring Garden Street near 6th in Northern Liberties on May 25. She and a friend were seated near the dance floor with a hookah placed on a "feeble" table between them.
The club, which does business as Trilogy but holds a catering-club liquor license under the name Palmer Social Club, allowed the general public inside that night causing the club to become "severely and excessively overly crowded," the suit said.
Patrons who were dancing on and around the stripper pole on the club's dance floor hit the leg of the table Sobon's hookah was on, toppling the hookah and sending the hot coals into her cleavage, according to the suit. Sobon, who lives in the city's Spring Garden section, said that her dress caught on fire and that a club manager apologized for the incident and offered to pay her medical bills.
The suit says that the coals in her cleavage caused Sobon "severe pain, agony, humiliation and embarrassment" and that Trilogy is responsible, in part, because they put the hookah pipe "near the dance floor which contained a stripper pole and thus invited wild dancing near burning hot coals."
Mohamed El-Laisy, who is listed in the suit as the club's owner but who identified himself as the club's manager in an interview yesterday, said that Sobon is "full of it" and is just trying to "make a quick buck."
"That's the same girl that came down here and tried to come back in the club three times," he said.
According to El-Laisy, when the incident happened, Sobon was offered medical attention but refused it.
She visited the club after the incident and told the staff that she should get something because she wasn't going to sue, so she and her friends were given free admission and drinks that night, El-Laisy said.
Between Sobon's second and third visits to the club after the incident, El-Laisy received a letter from her lawyer threatening to sue, he said.
"When she came in after I got that, I stopped her at the door. I said, 'What are you doing? You're trying to sue us!' " he said. "I find it funny that she tried to come back in after that."
El-Laisy said on Sobon's subsequent visits, he saw no scars or marks on her breasts.
Not that he was looking or anything.
El-Laisy said the club wasn't particularly busy on the night of the incident because the "nightclub economy" hasn't been doing well since the real-estate crash.
"We haven't even gotten a crowd like that in the last four years," he said.
El-Laisy also noted that the tables for hookah smoking are on one side of the club and the stripper pole is on the other side.
"It's not even a real stripper pole!" El-Laisy said. "It's for girls who want to take pictures and act like strippers."
As for allowing nonmembers to drink and socialize at the club, State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Sgt. Dan Steele said the club's license allows it, "with prior arrangements and notifications" to host catered events where nonmembers can purchase alcohol on site.
Steele said that the Palmer Social Club has a "significant case history" with the LCE dating back to 1996, but did not get into specifics.
El-Laisy says he plans to go tit for tat and fight the case in court.
"Her allegation is fully false and we'll see her in court," El-Laisy said. "It's just too ridiculous."
Sobon's attorney did not return a request for comment.