Tag Archives: Alcohol

Hospitality Industry Risk Update: “Texas Teen Found Dead in Hotel Room After Her High School Prom”

“…When police arrived at Gomez’s hotel room, they found evidence of that after party, including what police referred to as ‘an indication of alcohol.’ ImageInvestigators are also looking into the possibility that prescription painkillers may have been involved…Another teen guest staying at the Hyatt Friday night said he could hear partying going on all night in Gomez’s room. ‘We knocked on the door to see if anything was going on, but they didn’t answer,’ he said…”

On May 18, homicide police in north Houston are still investigating the death of a high school senior found dead in a Hyatt Hotel room yesterday morning following her MacArthur High School prom.

The deceased has been identified as 17-year-old Jacqueline Gomez, a senior at MacArthur High, according to ABC News. Gomez has been described by other news outlets as being 18.

For more: http://exm.nr/1jn8ufg

 

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: “How To Serve Alcohol At A Company Party Without Getting Sued” By Tom Posey

HospitalityLawyer.com Education Partner II

How to Serve Alcohol at a Company Party Without Getting Sued

By Tom Posey, Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels

With the holidays right around the corner, many businesses will host festive company outings and events for their employees, including parties at the office—and often these celebrations include alcohol.

Employers need to understand the legal parameters of having alcohol in the workplace in order to establish a safe, responsible and enjoyable work environment for their employees. A few common questions from employers at this time of year are:

Some states have laws that govern “social host liability.”  Through these laws, bartenders or social hosts can be held liable for events that result from over-serving someone (e.g. accidents, injuries, etc.).  These laws would make the organization responsible for monitoring consumption and cutting off drinking by anyone who becomes intoxicated, so be aware of the laws in your jurisdiction.

If some of our employees are under the legal drinking age, can we still serve alcohol?

Employers must ensure that no one underage has access to alcohol. If alcohol is served to a minor, the employer can be subject to the same stiff fines and penalties that a store or bar that serves a minor would face.  Accordingly, if underage employees will be attending the party, employers must be vigilant in making sure that they are not served or allowed access to alcoholic beverages.

If an employee has too much to drink and has an accident, it is still covered by our insurance, right?

Employers who provide alcohol to their employees may unwittingly negate coverage under their general liability insurance policies and be on the hook for costs associated with alcohol-related incidents or injuries, so be aware of the limitations and exceptions applicable to your organization’s employee-related policies.

Any other legal risks the organization might face if alcohol will be served at holiday functions?

There is an increased risk of sexual harassment-related complaints that result from company events where alcohol is present (e.g. the stereotypical office holiday party HospitalityLawyer Converge Solutionsthat is always satirized in movies and TV shows).  Remember that even though the function might be held outside normal working hours, employees are still afforded protection from harassment or other inappropriate conduct that might be directed at them by their colleagues.

For more:  http://hlconverge.com/index.php/component/k2/item/696-how-to-serve-alcohol-at-a-company-party-without-getting-sued

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Restaurants And Hotels Must “Thoroughly And Consistently” Train Employees For Alcohol Service

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Pennsylvania Restaurant Settles “Excessive Alcohol Lawsuit” For $8.9 Million; Staff To Complete “Responsible Alcohol Management Training” And Establish “Designated Driver Program”

“…(the drunk driver) consumed at least six liters of beer and several  shots of liquor over a period of about 41/2 hours…(he) vomited on a table and was  escorted out of the bar by security. He was allowed to leave, walked to his car  and crashed a short time later…his Hospitality Industry Excessive Alcohol Lawsuitsblood-alcohol level an hour after the crash was 0.219, more than twice  the legal limit…”

  • The restaurant’s staff, including managers, servers, bartenders and security, to be certified  in Responsible Alcohol Management training through an approved Pennsylvania  Liquor Control Board trainer.
  • Responsibility for identifying intoxicated guests will be included in job  descriptions for security personnel. In addition, the restaurant will establish  guidelines for responsible alcohol service and disseminate those to  employees.
  • It will use a new point-of-sales system to provide individual checks so they  know how much alcohol each customer is getting.
  • It also will provide water to  guests to slow alcohol consumption; will establish a designated driver program  providing complimentary non-alcohol beverages and will provide free light food  for guests who appear to be intoxicated.

The family of a 7-year-old girl who was killed by a drunken driver in 2010  after he left the Hofbrauhaus restaurant on the South Side on Tuesday reached a  $15.6 million settlement with the company. In addition to the financial payout, the German-style facility has agreed to  a number of changes in its protocol to try to reduce customer intoxication and  drunken driving.

Lexa Cleland, who was asleep in the back seat as her mother drove to pick up  her husband, Mark, from work the night of Dec. 4, 2010, was killed instantly  when her mother’s Toyota Camry was struck by a Ford Mustang driven by Travis  Isiminger on East Carson Street on the South Side.

The settlement breakdown pays $8.9 million to Nicole Cleland; $500,000 to  Mark Cleland; $2.1 million to the estate of Lexa Cleland; and just over $4  million to their attorneys, Goodrich & Associates, for costs and fees.

The lawsuit was filed against Hofbrauhaus and Isiminger, whose insurance will  be responsible for paying $100,000 of the settlement.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/owners-of-south-sides-hofbrauhaus-settle-in-girls-death-for-156-million-686644/#ixzz2TBFxrkyx

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: New Mexico Restaurant Sued By Family Of Man Killed After “Leaving While Intoxicated”; Lawsuit Claims Corporate Policy Of “Driving Up Liquor Sales”

“…The lawsuit says the restaurant’s employees shouldn’t have served Varela the 20-ounce “Brewtus” beers and should have Alcohol Drink Responsiblystopped him from leaving while intoxicated…It also accused Applebee’s corporate leadership of encouraging its restaurants to drive up liquor sales, especially late at night, a policy it says “created a dangerous situation…”

The estate of a man who was struck and killed by a truck filed a lawsuit against the Taos restaurant that served him several 20-ounce beers, saying he was over served before he walked out of the restaurant and into the street where he was killed. The Albuquerque Journal reports Julian Varela, 49, had a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit for driving when he left the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar on Dec. 29, 2011.

He was killed by a teen driver who wasn’t cited in the incident. The lawsuit names the 17-year-old as a defendant, saying he was negligent.

An attorney for Varela’s estate wouldn’t say where they got the internal emails and records those accusations are based on. The lawsuit references police reports from 2008 to 2011 that list 90 incidents, and the chain’s own log entries of gunshots, fights, assaults and other incidents at the restaurant.

It seeks punitive and other damages.

For more:  http://www.azcentral.com/news/free/20130501new-mexico-applebees-sued-over-drunk-pedestrians-death.html

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Texas Club Owner Ordered To Pay $10.5 Million To Family Of Woman Killed By “Monster Truck” In Parking Lot; “Dram Shop” Laws Hold Company Liable For Over-Serving Alcohol To Driver

“…(the plaintiff) sued Crutchfield and High Expectations Hospitality, the corporate name for Spearmint Rhino, pointing to state “dram shop” laws that allow a business to be held liable if it serves alcohol to someone who Alcohol Drink Responsiblywas clearly intoxicated and ended up causing harm to others…”

The parents of a 23-year-old woman killed by a monster truck outside a gentlemen’s club have won a $10.5 million civil verdict against the driver and the club for serving him alcohol. Kasey McKenzie died after she was run over in March 2011 by a pickup truck elevated on monster tires in the parking lot of the Spearmint Rhino club in Dallas. The driver of the truck, Eric Crutchfield, was drunk and has since pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

A Dallas civil jury on Tuesday awarded $4 million to the parents for mental anguish and $3.5 million for loss of companionship, along with about $3 million in other damages and expenses.

Michael Schmidt, an attorney for McKenzie’s parents, said the club served Crutchfield 10 or more drinks and shots on the night of McKenzie’s death. “This case basically is addressing a problem that we have, certainly in Dallas, of irresponsible establishments over-serving patrons and violating the law,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said McKenzie was hit by Crutchfield’s truck while walking in the parking lot after 2 a.m. on March 17, 2011.

According to a police report, Crutchfield “had no idea he had run over” McKenzie. A blood test after the incident showed his blood-alcohol level was 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

For more:  http://www.azcentral.com/news/nationworld/free/20130220texas-monster-truck-death-lawsuit-verdict.html

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Illinois Nightclub Sued By Man Stabbed In The Chest By Patron Who Was “Over-Served Alcohol”

“…(plaintiff) required emergency surgery after he was stabbed in the chest…the lawsuit says (he) suffered severe and permanent injuries and “will be hindered and prevented from attending to his usual duties and Alcohol Drink Responsiblyaffairs…the suit alleges that Olaska’s intoxication played a role in the stabbing. A restaurant employee was also injured in the fight…”

A man who was stabbed during a confrontation that cost a Naperville teacher his life has filed a lawsuit against the club where the clash happened. William Hayes III is suing Frankie’s Blue Room in Naperville and owner Riff Menza, claiming the bar over-served Daniel Olaska, who is awaiting trial on charges that he wounded Hayes and killed Shaun Wild in February 2012.

Authorities have said that Hayes had been teasing Olaska about drinking beer from a wine glass when Olsaka stabbed him with a folding knife he was carrying. Wild, a second-grade teacher at a Naperville school and a friend of Hayes’, was attempting to stop Olaska from leaving the bar when Olaska fatally stabbed him, according to police.

Hayes was a senior at nearby North Central College when the incident occurred. Wild was a 2010 graduate of the college. Both played for the school’s football team.

For more:  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-15/news/chi-naperville-frankies-blue-room-stabbing-lawsuit-20130215_1_daniel-olaska-shaun-wild-naperville-bar

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Family Of Man Who Died At “After-Hours Party” Files “Wrongful Death” Lawsuit Against Washington Restaurant; Victim Was “Over-Served” Alcohol, Did Not Receive Assistance

“…The injury occurred during an after-hours party hosted by the establishment’s general manager, who allegedly gave Lee liquor and marijuana…(the lawsuit alleges) that the restaurant broke the law by hosting an Alcohol Drink Responsiblyafter-hours party and put Patrick Lee in danger by over-serving him liquor, then failing to summon assistance when he was injured…”

The father of a man who died after allegedly falling and hitting his head during a party at a Puyallup restaurant has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the business. Attorneys for David Lee filed the lawsuit on his behalf this month in Pierce County Superior Court.

Lee is the father of Patrick Lee and the representative of the younger man’s estate. He seeks unspecified damages from Mis Tres Amigos, a family-owned Mexican restaurant with locations in Puyallup and Lakewood.

Patrick Lee, 22, died in November 2010 allegedly after becoming extremely intoxicated at the restaurant, the lawsuit states.

Instead of summoning help for Lee, the general manager and one of Lee’s friends “left him in a booth and continued to party,” the lawsuit alleges.

Lee was found the next morning unresponsive and having difficulty breathing. The general manager and Lee’s friend took him to Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup. He eventually was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was declared brain dead and removed from life support.

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: North Carolina Restaurant Ordered To Pay $1.7 Million To Parents Of “Unborn Child” Killed By Man In Alcohol-Related Head-On Collision

 “…attorneys say Huffman had been drinking at Eddie’s Place, and that his blood alcohol content was 0.23, nearly three times the legal limit in North Carolina…”

A jury has awarded a Charlotte couple $1.7 million in a lawsuit against a local restaurant in connection with a head-on collision that killed the couple’s unborn son.

Attorneys for Matt and Meredith Eastridge say 25-year-old David Canter Huffman was speeding in his Volvo on Oct. 29, 2010, when the car crossed the center line and hit Matt Eastridge’s Toyota RAV4.

Police say Huffman died in the crash, as did the Eastridges’ unborn son. Meredith Eastridge was a front-seat passenger and was six months pregnant.

For more:  http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/106eccfc426d4238a06f31c1cffbbf72/NC–Collision-Lawsuit

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Georgia Restaurant Group Settles Alcohol-Related “Wrongful Death Lawsuit” For $1.1 Million; “Post-Shift Drinking By Employees Is Rampant In Restaurant Industry”

 “It is rampant in the restaurant industry…it is a
culture of post-shift drinking, and in some restaurants, drinking during the
shift. It’s almost like a fringe benefit in some high-end restaurants, this
tradition of drinking after work.”

Husk’s owner, Marietta, Ga.-based Neighborhood Dining Group Inc., and its insurer agreed last month to settle the suit for $1.1 million. The company denied fault or liability.

The fiery crash and lawsuit also have put restaurants across the USA on notice that a tradition at many restaurants — in which employees share a drink after work in a spirit of camaraderie — can have devastating consequences.

The 4 a.m. crash occurred last December, when Adam Burnell, 32, an assistant manager and sommelier at Charleston’s Husk restaurant, allegedly drove his Audi into the back of a Mustang driven by Quentin Miller, 32. The crash slammed Miller’s car into a concrete wall; it erupted in flames, trapping him inside. He died at the scene. Burnell, who prosecutors said had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24%, three times the legal limit, was charged with felony driving under the influence.

Miller’s family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, alleging that Husk allowed Burnell to drink to excess on its premises after hours and then drive drunk. It was a stumble for a restaurant that was named “Best New Restaurant in America” by Bon Appetit magazine months earlier. Husk also was ranked one of the “101 Best Places to Eat in the World” by Newsweek magazine last month.

Burnell, who sustained minor injuries and is awaiting trial, was not named as a defendant.

Neighborhood Dining Group already had a policy that prohibits employees of its four restaurants — three in Charleston and one in Atlanta — from drinking on the premises, President David Howard says.

For more:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-09-04/restaurants-drinking-lawsuit-crash-south-carolina/57586486/1

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