Family of GSU Student Beaten to Death suing City of Statesboro

The family of a Georgia Southern student killed at an off campus bar is now suing the city of Stateboro and City Clerk Sue Starling.
Michael Gatto died after a beating at Rude Rudy’s bar back in 2014.

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Now his parents have filed an $11 million lawsuit for negligence and nuisance.

The suit claims the city did nothing to stop Rude Rudy’s bar from serving alcohol to underage students, and creating a “dangerous environment.”

Count 1: Negligence- Ministerial Breach and Failure to Supervise

For failure to supervise Clerk Starling regarding the duty to set administrative hearing before the City Council for underage drinking violations of the law that occurred on or about March 22, 2013 and March 28, 2013 at Rude Rudy’s and for Starling’s failure to set due process hearings upon her notice of the violations at Rude Rudy’s.

Count 2: Nuisance

For Statesboro and Starlings’ acts in allowing Rude Rudy’s to remain open by not revoking its alcohol license and/or business license therefore creating a hazardous and dangerous condition at Rudy’s.

Count 3: Nuisance Created by Defendant: Statesboro’s Changes to the Alcohol ordinance:

Allowed underage individuals with a criminal record to be employed as bouncers at establishments holding a alcohol license and removed accountability.
Removed any accountability for establishments to comply with required 50/50 ratio of food to alcohol sales.
Removed any substantive penalty from being implemented against businesses for sale of alcohol to underage patrons.
Created a dangerous environment at establishments in Statesboro by encouraging the sale of alcohol to underage college students.

Count 4: Punitive Damages

For demonstrating a disregard for the life and safety of citizens

Count 5: Expenses of Litigation

For the cost of legal action

Final medical and burial expenses: $163,801.06
Conscious pain and suffering: $1 million
Wrongful Death damages: $10 million

Michael’s death led to the statewide “Gatto’s Law” which stops anyone under 21 from entering or working in a bar in Georgia.

The man accused of beating Michael Gatto’s death, Grant Spencer, is currently serving a 20 year sentence.

Grant Spencer, accused in Michael Gatto's Death is serving a 20 year jail sentence
Grant Spencer, accused in Michael Gatto’s Death is serving a 20 year jail sentence


Rude Rudy’s lost their alcohol license and was closed by the city of Statesboro.

Discovery in this case could end as soon as May 23, 2017.

The anticipated date that this case will be tried before a jury is July 2017.

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