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Suit filed by dead man's family after bar incident

The mother and brother of a man who died after being escorted out of a River Falls bar by bouncers have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the business.

Joseph R. Roscoe, 43, River Falls, died Feb. 27, 2007--10 days after being found unconscious in the alley behind The Library, 106 N. Main St.

The civil suit was filed in Pierce County last week by Janice Roscoe, Two Harbors, Minn., and Mark Woodard, Omaha, Neb., against bartender/manager Edward Roughton, 105 Elm St., River Falls, and The Library bar.

According to the complaint, on Feb. 17, 2007, Roscoe was a customer at The Library and "became obviously intoxicated."

According to the complaint, bouncers attempted to escort him out. The suit says they were negligent in causing or allowing Roscoe "to trip, fall or stumble multiple times, hitting his head on the floor and pavement, and sustaining other serious injuries causing his death."

According to reports taken by police shortly after the incident, bouncers said Roscoe was drunk, caused a disturbance and was kicked out of the bar.

Roscoe was comatose after the incident and suffered a blood clot in his brain and a stroke after being hospitalized. He died Feb. 27 at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Police Chief Roger Leque said no criminal charges were filed in connection with the injury and death.

"We did an extensive and thorough investigation and referred (the results) to the Pierce County District Attorney for review, but no charges were filed," Leque said Monday.

According to the civil lawsuit, Roscoe's medical expenses exceeded $200,000 and he suffered pain and emotional distress before he died.

The suit also says his family incurred costs for medical expenses for his last illness and funeral costs in excess of $50,000.

The suit alleges bar managers were negligent in hiring, training, supervising and keeping staff, and negligent in maintaining the premises.

According to city records, The Library is owned by S&T River Falls LLC. S&T's president and agent is Stephanie Roughton.

Roscoe came to River Falls the summer before his death for alcohol treatment at Kinnic Falls Halfway House. He also did odd jobs in construction around town.