The community as a whole relies on bars and other places where alcohol is sold or consumed in New Jersey to carefully check to ensure patrons are of the legal drinking age and that they are not already intoxicated. The failure to do so could lead to lawsuit.
The family of a 23-year-old man who was beaten to death by three men while hailing a taxi has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against two local bars. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the three attackers were served alcohol at both establishments in spite of evidence of obvious intoxication and the fact that they were under the legal drinking age. The victim had been trying to hail a taxi unsuccessfully and had yelled at the taxi driver for not stopping. However, the alleged attackers believed that he had yelled at them and beat him to death. One of the attackers pled guilty to third-degree murder, while the other two pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and were sentenced to five-year prison terms.
In New Jersey, wrongful death suits are brought on behalf of the deceased by a representative, typically an attorney or a family member. They are intended to redress the negligence that caused the victim’s wrongful death and achieve a measure of justice for the loved ones of the victim. In this case, the family is suing the bars for serving the attackers alcohol despite their age and visible intoxication, which they argue caused them to attack the victim over a minor issue.
“Dram shop” acts are also relevant to this case. These laws are intended to hold establishments that serve alcohol accountable for the tortious actions of their patrons. For the drinking establishment to be held liable, it must be proven that the establishment served the defendant alcohol despite signs of intoxication that would be obvious to a reasonable observer, and the intoxication must be the cause of the tortious conduct.
The loved ones of a wrongful death victim are entitled to seek redress through a personal injury lawsuit, with the ultimate goal being monetary damages. This financial compensation may include awards for medical bills, lost wages and the pain and suffering involved in the wrongful death. The families of the victims are entitled to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Source: New Jersey Herald, “2 bars sued in death of man hailing Philly cab,” Aug. 23, 2013.