“Two Northeastern Pennsylvania bars have settled for a combined $6.6 million with a man who became quadriplegic after driving drunk and crashing his car into a tree.” Jason Mercado sued two East Stroudsburg, Pa. bars on the theory that they had inexperienced bartenders and staff who should have known better than to serve him. Attorney Robert Sink, who represented Mercado, said the case was not without its difficulties: “if the jury found the drunk driver was more than 50 percent at fault, then he would have gotten nothing” under Pennsylvania law. The insurers defending the case decided that the risk of a verdict otherwise was worth $6.6 million. [Legal Intelligencer]
P.S. Redditors discuss.
The Maryland high court recently declined an invitation to discard the common-law rule against server liability in a case where a patron of a Gaithersburg craft brewery got on the road and caused a fatal accident. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney wrote in favor of the wider liability rule, and I responded in a letter to the editor just posted at the newspaper.
“A Boston Red Sox fan who was harassed and stabbed through the neck by a New York Yankees fan at a restaurant in 2010 has been awarded $4.3 million by a jury. The jury in New Haven reached the verdict Thursday in favor of Monte Freire and against the restaurant, U.S.S. Chowder Pot III, in Branford, attorneys for both sides said.” The plaintiff’s lawyer said the restaurant had been put on notice that the Yankees fan was potentially violent and should have cut him off from further liquor; the restaurant’s attorney said that while the man had previously behaved like a jerk, he was sitting quietly when observed which is why the bartender decided only to monitor him. [ESPN]
And now William Lawler is suing the Amarillo, Tex. sports bar that served both of them earlier in the evening, saying it should have cut them off. The suit, which seeks $1 million or more,
also claims the two had an “amiable relationship, and would have never fought were it not for their extreme level of inebriation.”
Lawler’s lawyer Ryan Turman said he thinks they have a solid case.
“We feel like we’ve got solid facts. We feel like Pink is responsible,” he said. “You just trust a jury to do what is right on these.”
He said the lawsuit was filed in accordance with the Dram Shop Act.
[Amarillo Globe-News, more, Jon Mark Beilue column; & welcome Above the Law readers]
“Surveillance footage suggests that [Azcona] was heavily intoxicated, stumbling several times before he fell into a snow bank and didn’t get up.” Later a snowplow hit him. His survivors are suing the Trenton, N.J. bar that allegedly should have cut him off earlier, along with the city. [Ann Marie McDonald, New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Watch; Trenton Times]
“A New Jersey man who got so drunk playing beer pong at a Greenwich Village pub that he thought walking across a busy highway was a good idea cannot sue the bar over his injuries, a judge has ruled.” [Dareh Gregorian, NY Post]
Max Kennerly thinks we should understand their point of view. Earlier here, here, etc., etc.
“A South Carolina woman is suing the bar that served her alcohol as a minor the night she had a car accident that left her paralyzed. Chelsea Hess, 22, is also suing the South Carolina Department of Transportation, the town of Bluffton and Beaufort County for negligence for allegedly not maintaining the road shoulder she drove her car over in her accident.” [ABC via @amyalkon]
“D.C. United’s Charlie Davies is suing the owners of a Washington nightclub and the drink company Red Bull for $20 million, claiming they are responsible for a fatal car crash that ended the MLS player’s hopes of joining the 2010 U.S. World Cup team. Davies, now 25, was a passenger in the car driven by a woman who has since pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving in the 2009 one-car crash that killed a second passenger.” Perhaps his theory will be that the nightclub had an obligation to assess how drunk the woman was, but he didn’t. [AP/ESPN]
Follow the bouncing blame: “Pleasantville police officer Aaron Hess, who shot and killed Pace University football player Danroy Henry, Jr., is suing a local liquor store for allegedly providing Henry with alcohol. … Hess has been cleared of any wrongdoing by a grand jury but the U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing the case and Henry’s family has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Hess and the police department.” [News12, NY]
Although the New Jersey legislature enacted a law in 1997 flatly barring drunk drivers from recovering damages over their own car crashes, the state’s supreme court ruled that because the law did not explicitly override the state’s dramshop (liquor-server liability) law, it would be read as having left it intact. [NJLJ, NJLRA, more]