$6.7 million awarded after drunk student’s fall

by Walter Olson on February 24, 2011

“A judge has awarded more than $6.7 million to the family of a Northeastern University student who fell down a set of stairs at a Boston bar in 2007 and died after a night of drinking. The judge’s award comes about three months after a jury ruled the bar violated the city building code but was not liable for the 21-year-old man’s death.” [Boston Globe; Herald; MyFoxBoston]


1 Ted Frank 02.24.11 at 1:19 am

Apparently worth more dead than alive.

Note that city inspectors never cited the bar for the offending staircase (which was in an area off limits to customers).

2 gitarcarver 02.25.11 at 9:09 am

Color me confused on this one. Here we have a judge that basically dismisses the verdict of a jury. (In baseball parlance, we would call that “strike one.”)

The judge then rules that the bar is guilty of code / ordinance violations for which the bar has never been cited. (Swing and a miss! Strike two!)

I would have thought that building and code violations penalties are codified. In other words, if one is cited by code enforcement and the issue is not resolved, the fine is set in the statutes as being $X.XX per day or whatever. So why is the judge going far above the statutory fine for a non-existent violation? (I’ll give a swing and a nick of the pitch resulting in a foul ball on this one.)

Lastly, if the judge is ruling that on the non-existent code violations and setting what amounts to be a fine off of that, doesn’t that money go to the city of state, and not the family of the student? The ADA not withstanding, when it is a financial boon to someone (not the city) for a code violation – a non-existent code violation as well? (Strike three.)

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