Peter L. MacIsaac recently settled a case on behalf of the plaintiff parents of a young woman who died in an auto accident after leaving the defendant Martell’s Tiki Bar in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Our clients were the wrongful death beneficiaries of the Estate of their deceased Daughter, who had allegedly been served by the staff at Martell’s while in a visibly intoxicated state. The plaintiffs further alleged that Martell’s then permitted their daughter to leave the premises by driving off in another patron’s vehicle (which was identical to her own), and which had been in Martell’s exclusive custody and control.
Through extensive investigation and depositions, Peter demonstrated that although the decedent had arrived with a designated driver, Martell’s staff served her to the point of visible intoxication, and then continued serving her after they flagged her as visibly intoxicated. Peter forced the Bar’s Head of Security to admit that the bar violated many of its own policies and procedures, and bore responsibility for the death of his clients’ daughter. He was able to show that she became separated from her designated driver and was allowed to leave the Bar on her own in a visibly intoxicated state, even though the Bars policies and procedures prohibit the continued service of visibly intoxicated patrons and mandate that when they are identified, the bar take steps to see that they have a safe means of transportation.
After we filed suit, Martell’s liquor license was suspended by the Alcohol & Beverage Commission pursuant to charges it filed against Martell’s for serving our clients' daughter, a visibly intoxicated patron. Martell’s plead no contest and agreed to a $500,000 fine. As part of the settlement with ABC, Martell’s hired an alcohol industry consultant to retrain its servers in how to spot intoxicated patrons, cut them off and ensure their safety.