A bartender at Tiger Woods’ The Woods restaurant died in a car crash on Dec. 10 in Florida. While Woods was initially listed as a defendant as part of the state’s dram shop laws, the parents of the victim dropped the golfer from the lawsuit, but The Woods and its general manager remain as defendants in the civil suit filed in Palm Beach County. The family initially allege that the restaurant served alcoholic drinks to the bartender during and after his shift, which led to him driving with a .256 blood alcohol level (which is over three times the legal limit) and the subsequent fatal crash. The family also alleged that the restaurant staff was aware of the bartender’s addiction to alcohol, and thus should not have served him alcohol nor let him drive when he left The Woods around 6 p.m.
New information revealed
USA Today recently published an update on this story. Not only was Woods dropped from the lawsuit, it has come to light that the bartender was also under the influence of marijuana, which may have contributed more than 50% fault for the crash that involved no other vehicles. The defense also argues that the bartender took the drinks without paying, so the Woods is not liable for his death under the dram shop law. It further argues that this information negates the wrongful death suit. The defense is seeking a jury trial, but there is also a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Dram Shop Laws in New Mexico
New Mexico enforces the dram shop law under the Liquor Liability Act. This law stipulates:
- The establishment who served alcohol to a person who is intoxicated is liable
- The establishment is liable if it was reasonably apparent that the customer was intoxicated
- The establishment knew the customer was intoxicated
Victims and family can file a lawsuit
This case is yet to be resolved, but a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can be a tremendous asset to those injured or killed through the negligence of others when dram shop laws or other laws apply. Not only can they hold guilty parties accountable, but they can also defend their clients against insurance companies who seek to avoid paying compensation.