The plaintiffs’ decedent, a 25 year-old man, visited a cocktail lounge located in the defendant’s hotel.
After entering the lounge, the decedent, an employee of the hotel, consumed several “Long Island Ice Teas” (reportedly up to six) within a four-hour period. At approximately one o’clock a.m., after the lounge was required to close under state law, the decedent remained in the lounge, at the bar, serving himself beer from the tap. During this time, the lounge manager was reportedly in the D.J. booth talking with a young woman, and claimed to have no knowledge as to whether the decedent had or had not been on the premises after-hours.
According to at least one witness/employee at the hotel, the decedent left the lounge at approximately three-thirty AM, and was described as extremely intoxicated. This same hotel employee asked the decedent to take a cab home but he apparently failed to do so. On route from the hotel to his parents’ home in Enfield, where he lived, the decedent’s car left the road, plummeting into the Stony Brook River, killing the decedent. Blood alcohol testing performed post-mortem reported a B.A.C. of .26, more than three times the legal threshold for intoxication in New Hampshire.
In addition to the obvious difficulties posed by single car accidents involving intoxicated drivers, the case was further complicated by the decedent’s prior driving record which included two prior convictions for drunk driving.
At mediation, the plaintiff’s wrongful death lawyer argued that the defendant was negligent in that it allowed the decedent, a known drinker, to continue to remain on its premises while intoxicated; that it permitted the decedent to continue to consume alcohol when it knew or should have known the decedent was intoxicated; and that it allowed alcohol to be consumed on its premises after the state-mandated closing hour.
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