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Rathskeller sues insurers

Aug. 9–BELLEFONTE — The All American Rathskeller is suing its insurance agency and insurance agent over a $2.5 million wrongful death settlement reached with the mother of Peter Serrano, a Penn State student who died during an altercation with night club bouncers in October 2003.

In court documents, financial figures kept strictly confidential in the settlement announced last week became public, including claims that the Rathskeller agreed to the $2.5 million settlement to avoid a potential $10 million jury verdict. “The claimed economic losses (of the Rathskeller) alone exceeded $5 million dollars in the federal claim,” Rathskeller attorney Gavin P. Lentz, of Philadelphia, and Andrew Shubin, of State College, argue in court documents filed in Centre County Court. “The Rathskeller also paid other significant funds out of pocket to resolve the federal claim,” the suit states. Central Insurance Group Inc., of 1369 N. Atherton St., State College, would not comment Tuesday. The Rathskeller is alleging Central Insurance Group was professionally negligent be providing less-than-adequate coverage — resulting in that $2.5 million settlement, court documents state. The nightclub also alleges a breach of fiduciary duty by not having sufficient coverage, having secured a policy “with only $500,000” worth of coverage. The club also is suing their individual agent with Central Insurance Group, alleging he was improperly trained and supervised. Lentz said Central Insurance Group knew what kind of business the Rathskeller is and the risks involved, but did not properly insure the business. “It’s like someone selling homeowner’s insurance and you’re covered for everything but fire,” Lentz said. In a notice filed last week in U.S. Middle District Court, Serrano’s mother, Grace Jimenez, of Lower Paxton Township, agreed to settle wrongful death claims against All-American Rathskeller and six of its employees in the death of her 21-year-old son. But the terms were kept quiet, until the latest lawsuit. Jimenez could not be reached for comment Tuesday. She previously reached a $100,000 wrongful-death settlement with Gentzel Corp., the property owner, and Associated Property Management, which manages the property used as a parking lot for the Rathskeller.

Serrano choked to death on his own vomit while being pinned to the ground by Rathskeller staff members Christopher and Jason Rosengrant three years ago. The incident began when one of Serrano’s friends stopped to urinate in a parking lot behind the Rathskeller. The group was told to leave by Rathskeller staff, but a physical altercation ensued.

Serrano was thrown to the ground by the Rosengrant brothers during the scuffle on Calder Way and pinned down, according to previous reports. When police got there, Serrano was unresponsive. He later died at Mount Nittany Medical Center. The Rathskeller is demanding a jury trial against their insurance carrier.