Jury Verdict - Dram Shop Act/Motor Vehicle Accident January 2012
Lori A. Vanderlaan
Lori Vanderlaan obtained a defense jury verdict a Dram Shop Act claim where Plaintiff alleged he was severely injured in a motor vehicle accident and incurred over $500,000 in medical bills.
Plaintiff had been out drinking with her brother at Defendant bar. They both drank several beers and several shots. At some point, the Plaintiff's boyfriend showed up. The three decided to leave and the boyfriend offered to drive Plaintiff home. The boyfriend was sober. Plaintiff declined said ride and indicated she wanted to ride with her brother so that they could talk further. The brother proceeded to drive the car with Plaintiff in it. A rear end collision followed. There was no blood alcohol test taken of the driver (brother), because police believed Plaintiff had been driving but then later learned they were wrong in said assumption. However, the police officer responding to the scene testified at trial as to the impairment of Plaintiff's brother. Plaintiff's brother likewise testified to his impairment and the number of drinks he consumed which were served to him by Defendant. The defense was complicity, meaning the defense argued that the Plaintiff contributed to her brother's intoxication by drinking with him and per her own testimony, buying him one beer and one shot, and therefore it could not be liable. The jury deliberated for 13 minutes and returned a verdict in favor of Defendant.