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Justified or Not?


codeorama

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Restaurant Ordered to Pay Couple $39M

Fri Jun 27,12:41 AM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!

MUNCIE, Ind. - Jurors ordered the corporate owner of an Outback Steakhouse to pay $39 million to a couple severely injured when they were hit by an allegedly drunken driver who had just left the restaurant.

David and Lisa Markley filed the complaint against the restaurant in 1999, two years after the accident.

The lawsuit alleged that the driver became intoxicated at a party celebrating the restaurant's grand opening. After he left the party, his car crossed a highway center line and collided with a motorcycle operated by David Markley.

Markley suffered broken bones that left him unable to return to his factory job. His wife, a passenger on the motorcycle, suffered internal and leg injuries that required more than 40 surgeries.

"She's in constant pain every day of her life," said the couple's attorney, Michael J. Alexander.

Attorneys for the restaurant chain said they expected to appeal.

Some witnesses said alcohol was served free to guests at the grand opening. Others said they paid a dime each for mixed drinks and beer.

The Muncie restaurant is one of more than 600 owned by Florida-based Outback Steakhouse Inc.

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I agree with both of you guys. 39 million??

It's seems like no one is responsible for their actions anymore. It's getting pretty stupid.

The sad part is, the drunk driver is the one that should be sued, but because he doesn't have 39 million, the victims go after someone else. I doubt the restaraunt forced the guy to drink to much.

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Though 39 mil is high (likely to be reduced) I feel its a little more justified. My borhter who works at a local bar closes early mainly for this reason...and regularly keeps tabs on the regulars and calls cabs when needed. (though no included in the story) I hope the driver is doing some time, and has to pay a portion of his wages for life to this couple who obviously have had their lives messed up.

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I know when I worked as a waiter in Delaware, we had to take a class for a license to serve liquor. IN the class, they made a big point of telling us over and over again that if we served an already intoxicated person we and our establishment could be held liable for damages they did.

So yes, the judgement is on the very high side, but I'd bet the server and the restaraunt knew the risk in serving drunks more mixed drinks.

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I've been a bartender when I was in college, I've taken those same classes about being able to recoginze drunks and the liability factor, but you have to admit, each person shows their level of "drunkness" differently. I 've had someone pass out while I was having an intelligent conversation with them.

I personally feel that the liability needs to be there to a certain degree, but they should have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the bar/restaraunt was wreckless.

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I've been a bartender when I was in college, I've taken those same classes about being able to recoginze drunks and the liability factor, but you have to admit, each person shows their level of "drunkness" differently. I 've had someone pass out while I was having an intelligent conversation with them.

Totally agree, I know its not a cut and dry issue by any means. You can have a guy that can walk in a staight line, talk clearly, and seem competant.....and they are really F***** up. I think given the circumstances, I can justify them getting a judgement....though the 39 mil should be reduced.

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Originally posted by The Evil Genius

While I do think that private businesses need to monitor the amounts of alcohol they serve to their customers, I do not think they should be held responsible, with the one caveat of that the persons are not underage.

This case is different because they were giving the liquor away for free basicly. In most other cases it is the person who serves them, I know I used to be a bartender and we had to make sure we didn't serve anyone that was to intoxicated or we would be in trouble.

This is very similar to having your own party at your house. A bunch of friends come over get wasted, leave, someone gets into a bad accident, the cops come after you.

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