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ARTICLE ID 161461

$________ TOTAL - DRAM SHOP - SINGLE VEHICLE COLLISION - INEBRIATED DRIVER SUSTAINS SECOND AND THIRD DEGREE BURNS TO FACE AND HANDS - PASSENGER SUFFERS BURN INJURIES AND SCARRING - SECOND PLAINTIFF PASSENGER SUFFERS ANKLE FRACTURE AND POST SURGICAL INFECTION - SKIN GRAFT - DEFENDANT DRIVER UNINSURED.

Middlesex County, NJ

In this action, the plaintiff patrons at the defendant tavern, approximately 30 years of age, contended that the driver was served while visibly intoxicated. The plaintiffs contended that as a result, the driver, who was also a defendant, lost control and struck a utility pole when the vehicle was a short distance from the tavern. The defendant tavern had $________ in coverage and the plaintiff also named the valet concession operator as a defendant, contending that he should have advised the tavern that an inebriant was leaving rather than handing him the keys.

The accident occurred on New Year’s Eve. The plaintiffs were in the "VIP lounge," in which full bottles, rather than drinks were available. The plaintiffs maintained that they had purchased and drank two bottles of hard liquor and a bottle of champagne. The plaintiff’s expert toxicologist would have testified that the driver appeared intoxicated both when served at the tavern itself and when the parking attendant handed him the keys.

The valet parking concessionaire denied that it had any duty and moved for Summary Judgment. The plaintiff countered that this defendant’s training manual that specifically instructed the employees to not turn over the keys to a visibly intoxicated individual. The manual also instructed employees that upon encountering such an individual, the employee should inform the tavern, enabling them to deal with the situation. The court denied the valet parking concessionaire’s motion.

The plaintiff driver sustained second and third degree burns to the face, ear and hands. The plaintiff contended that the facial scarring is severe and permanent. The plaintiff also maintained that the injuries to the hands were particularly severe and that one of the hands became webbed. This plaintiff maintained that he will permanently have great difficulties with everyday tasks taken for granted, such as buttoning a shirt.

The initial plaintiff passenger sustained extensive scarring to the right ear and both hands. This plaintiff underwent a skin grafting procedure in which tissue from the thigh area was grafted, and also required a tracheotomy. This plaintiff maintained that the scarring from the burn injuries themselves, as well as from the skin graft donor site, and tracheotomy scars, are permanent.

The second plaintiff passenger maintained that he suffered burns which left moderate facial scarring which he maintained is permanent and a trimalleolar fracture and required an open reduction and the insertion of hardware. This plaintiff contended that the surgical wound became infected and that he required multiple debridements as well as skin graft surgery. The plaintiffs each maintained that they will be permanently unable to work and would have introduced evidence that they have all been declared unemployable by the Social Security Administration.

The case settled prior to trial, with the parking concession paying $________ and the tavern paying $________. Each plaintiff received $________.

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