The life of a young rapper and promoter, Youantis Wright, took a bad turn five years ago when he was severely injured in a tavern shooting. He finally received justice in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on June 2 when his attorneys at Hausmann-McNally, S.C.—Charles Hausmann and Michael Donovan–won a $1.7 million verdict against the shooter and premises door man, Decosta Edwards.
On November 28, 2005, Youantis Wright just happened to be at Remedies Bar & Grill, 5666 N. Teutonia Ave., with friends celebrating the production of his first CD, “Look at Me Now.” In addition to being in the music and video business, Wright earned a degree in the medical assistant program from Kaplan Higher Education in January 2010.
At closing time, he noticed a fight in the parking lot and, because he knew some of the people involved, he tried to stop the argument.
Unfortunately, he was in the path of assault weapon bullets fired by the tavern’s doorman, Decosta Edwards. One of bullets tore through Wright’s chest and went out his back, causing injuries, which almost killed him.
After being taken to Froedert Memorial Hospital where he had to be resuscitated several times, Wright endured months of surgeries and medical treatments to repair the damaged areas in his chest and torso. On June 3, the judge found that the defendant intentionally disregarded the rights of Youantis Wright.
Judge Charles F. Kahn found that Decosta Edwards was negligent the night of November 19, 2005 and ordered $500,000 for Wright’s past and future pain and suffering, $230,000 for medical bills and $1 million in punitive damages.
The bar owner, Suzana Ristic-Crumble declared bankruptcy just as the case was going to trial, to avoid facing the consequences of this action.
Hausmann and Donovan, say the case definitely sends the right message. “For one thing, Youantis Wright deserves justice for his injuries,” said Michael Donovan. “The man who shot him only served five days in jail for the shooting that almost cost him his life and Youantis was not satisfied that was adequate punishment.”
During his trial, Edwards tried to claim that someone else did the shooting. Hausmann-McNally attorneys challenged his claim. Although he admitted bringing up a rifle from the basement, Edwards said his brother grabbed it and began shooting into the crowd.
A witness, who was Wright’s friend and was present at the shooting, identified Decosta Edwards as the shooter in a police photo lineup. Donovan and Hausmann stated, and the judge agreed, that his brother was not the shooter and found Edwards responsible for Wright’s injuries. Decosta Edwards tried to flee from the shooting scene but was later arrested by police.
“We are absolutely convinced that the trouble that comes from unsafe area taverns has to be stopped,” says Charles Hausmann. “Badly managed taverns are a blight on many neighborhoods–the root of many drug, alcohol and violence problems. We are sending notice that tavern and other business owners can be hit in their pocketbooks as well as face criminal charges.”
The firm has several other pending civil lawsuits aimed at holding businesses accountable for violence at their premises. The Hausmann-McNally Website is www.hausmann-mcnally.com.
Youantis Wright, who performs with Miltown Movement as Yung City Daboss, recently released a new CD, “The Streets Is Mine.”