published on
3 February, 2017

Two guys' night out at strip club turns into $75M lawsuit
Article written by SCN. Additional content from nypost.com.

An $800 "he said-she said" over a night out for two pals at a Midtown strip club has ballooned into a $75 million Manhattan lawsuit.

Rene Zurita and Matt Friedman claim in their mega-dollar suit that three bouncers and a stripper swiped $776 from them, attacked them and then told police that they robbed the unidentified dancer at Rick's Cabaret on W. 33rd St. last February.

The duo, who filed the papers Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court, also accused three security guards -- Carlos Cline, Jimmy Valentine and Frederick Garrido -- of holding them hostage.

"They were a couple of old friends who decided to have a drink at a place that advertises as a gentlemen's club, but there were no gentleman there," attorney Jack Yankowitz, who filed the suit, told The Post.

On Feb. 26, the pals were sitting at a table in the jiggle joint with Friedman's wad of cash stacked on top of it when the dancer sauntered up to them and knocked the bills onto the floor.

"All of a sudden, she tries to grab all the money and screams, "That's my money. Rene said, 'Absolutely not. You just knocked it down from the table,'" according to Yankowitz.

A half dozen bouncers and managers heard the commotion and went over to investigate.

The stripper claimed that she had the money tied around her ankle -- and the two men just snatched it, Yankowitz said. She then said Zurita had threatened her, stating, "I will f-- you up," the suit claims.

But the friends told the staff that Friedman's money was merely resting on top of the table -- and they'd not given her a cent.

While this was going on, Friedman picked up the bills and stuffed them into his pocket. The pals then tried to leave the club, but were corralled in a hallway by the beefy bodyguards.

"One of the bouncers grabs Rene and smashes him into a wall -- his head smashed into a glass frame," Yankowitz said. "He's now basically dazed with his head bleeding now."

Another bouncer allegedly manhandled Friedman and grabbed the stack of bills from his pocket, said Yankowitz.

Friedman then called police from his cell phone.

But the officers arrested Zurita and Freidman after taking statements from the club's staff, accusing them of robbery. They spent 30 hours behind bars.

The Manhattan DA's Office subsequently dropped the robbery charges and dismissed the case in April.

The two men are seeking damages for their pain and suffering as well as mental anguish -- and incurring extensive medical costs due to their injuries.

Rick's Cabaret did not return a call for comment.

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