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Tiger Woods Being Sued for Wrongful Death of Bartender

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4 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

okay @ncates00 (or any other lawyer on here) I have a question. I would think that Tiger would separate or "protect" himself by buying and operating that bar/restaurant using a corporation or LLC? The owners of LLCs and corporations should be protected from personal liability. Isn't that the whole reason why someone would create the corporation or LLC? So explain to me how someone could work around that to name Tiger personally in the lawsuit? Especially of he wasn't even there.

Off the top of my head, there are exceptions to avoiding personal liability under an LLC.  Things like negligent hiring and/or supervision by the owner of an LLC doesn't void liability.  

7 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

Especially of he wasn't even there

A lot of people get caught up on this point--this doesn't matter in the slightest.

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10 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

okay @ncates00 (or any other lawyer on here) I have a question. I would think that Tiger would separate or "protect" himself by buying and operating that bar/restaurant using a corporation or LLC? The owners of LLCs and corporations should be protected from personal liability. Isn't that the whole reason why someone would create the corporation or LLC? So explain to me how someone could work around that to name Tiger personally in the lawsuit? Especially of he wasn't even there.

IANAL, but it seems to me that if Tiger and/or his girlfriend created the rules (or the atmosphere, or they personally knew the guy was an alcoholic and signed off on him being a bartender and/or drinking there), you can't "blame" that on an LLC.

Just an educated guess, as I'm pretty sure Tiger is about as protected as he can be.

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9 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

okay @ncates00 (or any other lawyer on here) I have a question. I would think that Tiger would separate or "protect" himself by buying and operating that bar/restaurant using a corporation or LLC? The owners of LLCs and corporations should be protected from personal liability. Isn't that the whole reason why someone would create the corporation or LLC? So explain to me how someone could work around that to name Tiger personally in the lawsuit? Especially of he wasn't even there.

You can name anyone you want in a civil action.  That doesn't mean that a court will find that the liability applies to each entity or individual named.  Tiger, by virtue of sitting and drinking with the bartender just a few days before the accident, may be shown to have knowledge of his drinking problems, and that knowledge may make him personally liable.  I'm no expert, obviously.

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29 minutes ago, ncates00 said:

Off the top of my head, there are exceptions to avoiding personal liability under an LLC.  Things like negligent hiring and/or supervision by the owner of an LLC doesn't void liability.  

A lot of people get caught up on this point--this doesn't matter in the slightest.

I only mention him not being there because had he been there maybe he bought the guy a drink or was adding to the "party" atmosphere. So would have been directly involved. 

26 minutes ago, iacas said:

IANAL, but it seems to me that if Tiger and/or his girlfriend created the rules (or the atmosphere, or they personally knew the guy was an alcoholic and signed off on him being a bartender and/or drinking there), you can't "blame" that on an LLC.

Just an educated guess, as I'm pretty sure Tiger is about as protected as he can be.

I cannot believe that Tiger would have that much day to day contact with the restaurant, but his girlfriend does run it so...? I just don't see Tiger signing off on anything as trivial as the hiring of a bartender. I imagine, as you do as well, that his team of lawyers probably has contingency plans after contingency plans just for problems like this. I don't imagine we will see Tiger destitute from this lawsuit anytime soon.

31 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

You can name anyone you want in a civil action.  That doesn't mean that a court will find that the liability applies to each entity or individual named.  Tiger, by virtue of sitting and drinking with the bartender just a few days before the accident, may be shown to have knowledge of his drinking problems, and that knowledge may make him personally liable.  I'm no expert, obviously.

That's true, just because he is named doesn't mean they have any sort of case. That being said, often times people with bank accounts like Tiger's will settle just to make it go away. I mean what's $250,000 to someone like Tiger. He wouldn't even miss it, and it probably would be paid by his insurance anyway. 

Therein lies the problem, people sue just to try and make a buck knowing they will often get paid on even the most imaginary of lawsuits.

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4 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

I cannot believe that Tiger would have that much day to day contact with the restaurant, but his girlfriend does run it so...? I just don't see Tiger signing off on anything as trivial as the hiring of a bartender. I imagine, as you do as well, that his team of lawyers probably has contingency plans after contingency plans just for problems like this. I don't imagine we will see Tiger destitute from this lawsuit anytime soon.

I'm not following this closely, but if he was drinking with the guy a few days prior, it's reasonable to think he might have knowledge.

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1 hour ago, NM Golf said:

okay @ncates00 (or any other lawyer on here) I have a question. I would think that Tiger would separate or "protect" himself by buying and operating that bar/restaurant using a corporation or LLC? The owners of LLCs and corporations should be protected from personal liability. Isn't that the whole reason why someone would create the corporation or LLC? So explain to me how someone could work around that to name Tiger personally in the lawsuit? Especially of he wasn't even there.

Generally speaking, liability would stop at the LLC. I haven't looked at the Florida law applicable here in much detail. However, I believe the original article says that under that law, you can sue the owner and the manager of the bar directly for an employee serving a habitual drunk. That's why Tiger and the manager got sued personally. Again, haven't looked at the law in much detail, so not 100% sure.

In the end, any judgment would almost certainly be paid by the restaurant's business insurance. It's a form over substance thing. As a plaintiff's attorney, you name every person you could possibly have a claim against to maximize your client's possible recovery. Plus, suing Tiger gets you some publicity and increases the incentive to settle.

Edited by DeadMan

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5 hours ago, iacas said:

You just negated everything else you were saying.

You agree with the law.

No, I just say that you can try to stop serving him for his own good (out of the goodness of my heart), but at the end if he insists, I don't see why you should stop.  Kinda like if you have a party at home and somebody insists on having one more than is good for him.  I would encourage him to stop, but not force it.  At the end of the day, he is responsible for his own actions.  If it affects me, I will stop him, so say he causes a mess at my house, I will stop him or kick him out.  If not, I won't.  I know I will be slated for this view, but no problem.  Like I said in earlier posts, you are responsible for your own actions, not me.  If you choose to drink, and you have an accident, you are at fault, not the bar or the liquor company.  If we call the bar responsible here, then we can call car manufacturers, or the DVLA as they issued the licence, responsible if somebody has an accident.  INSANE

5 hours ago, Hardspoon said:

Who needs to know silly things like “all the actual facts in the case”, am I right?

Even if you accept the premise that a consumer of alcohol is completely responsible for their own actions, there are a lot of things the bar/restaurant could have done that would place some additional responsibility on their shoulders. 

Like I said above, he chose to drink.  It is not like the bar forced alcohol down his throat and then locked him in the car and forced him to drive.  He made that choice on his own, he is ultimately responsible.  The only reason people are going after Tiger and his bar is because they have the money.

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4 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

No, I just say that you can try to stop serving him for his own good (out of the goodness of my heart), but at the end if he insists, I don't see why you should stop.  Kinda like if you have a party at home and somebody insists on having one more than is good for him.  I would encourage him to stop, but not force it.  At the end of the day, he is responsible for his own actions.  If it affects me, I will stop him, so say he causes a mess at my house, I will stop him or kick him out.  If not, I won't.  I know I will be slated for this view, but no problem.  Like I said in earlier posts, you are responsible for your own actions, not me.  If you choose to drink, and you have an accident, you are at fault, not the bar or the liquor company.  If we call the bar responsible here, then we can call car manufacturers, or the DVLA as they issued the licence, responsible if somebody has an accident.  INSANE

Like I said above, he chose to drink.  It is not like the bar forced alcohol down his throat and then locked him in the car and forced him to drive.  He made that choice on his own, he is ultimately responsible.  The only reason people are going after Tiger and his bar is because they have the money.

I think my views on personal liability and lawyers has been well documented on this thread, but I think you take it too far. Bars and restaurants are not there to get someone drunk. They are there to provide food, drink, possibly entertainment, but not to get people completely plastered. A bar or restaurant must provide alcohol in a responsible way, it's right there on the liquor license. If you don't you are liable. 

Now I think the whole liability thing and who is liable may be a bit out of hand, but the liquor establishment most definitely shares in the responsibility not to serve people to the point of extreme intoxication. It's for the safety and good of the community if nothing else.

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1 hour ago, NM Golf said:

I think my views on personal liability and lawyers has been well documented on this thread, but I think you take it too far. Bars and restaurants are not there to get someone drunk. They are there to provide food, drink, possibly entertainment, but not to get people completely plastered. A bar or restaurant must provide alcohol in a responsible way, it's right there on the liquor license. If you don't you are liable. 

Now I think the whole liability thing and who is liable may be a bit out of hand, but the liquor establishment most definitely shares in the responsibility not to serve people to the point of extreme intoxication. It's for the safety and good of the community if nothing else.

I understand what you are saying, but that is the drinkers responsibility.  Like I said earlier, one person may get drunk on two pegs in one hour and another may just get warmed up on six in an hour.  And, some people show and others don't how drunk they are.  Only a person slurring/staggering is easily identified.

Let me give you an example.  As a group we go out to a bar or we drink at home and I decide I am going to get hammered but make a plan in advance.  Somebody who is a designated driver will get me home or ensure I get into a cab.  Why should the bar care how much I drink, or be responsible for me getting hammered.

Secondly, I get totally hammered but don't drive (designated driver or cab).  Then there is no issue of responsibility for the bar, correct.

I accept I will get slated for this as I am advocating somebody should be responsible for their own actions all the way.  So be it.

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10 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

I understand what you are saying, but that is the drinkers responsibility.

Just stop dude. You don't acknowledge medical facts.

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6 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

I accept I will get slated for this as I am advocating somebody should be responsible for their own actions all the way.  So be it.

No, you’re advocating that business owners and bar managers should be absolved of all responsibility for their own actions and policies.

Unlike you, I think everyone should be responsible for their own actions, instead of just selecting the person MOST responsible and assigning them 100% liability.

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2 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

Unlike you, I think everyone should be responsible for their own actions, instead of just selecting the person MOST responsible and assigning them 100% liability.

Yup.

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My problem is selective enforcement of responsibility.  Let me explain what I mean.

Suppose the same person, instead of sitting in the bar, had gone to a liquor store, bought one or two bottles of scotch, sat in a parking lot somewhere and drank most of it.  Then on his way home had the accident.

Or he had taken the liquor home and a day later sat and drank the same amount at home.  Then decided he wanted to go out, to meet a friend/have a meal/whatever and then had the accident.

Is the liquor store owner now responsible for the drunk driver and accident.  And why is the liquor company not being sued whatsoever.

If you say yes, then sue the bar.  If not, then don't sue either.  You can't choose to sue the bar because they served him liquor by the peg, but not the liquor store which sold him an entire bottle or two.

Another couple of examples, which may well be treading on other issues.

A guy who is sober has an accident.  Maybe he was distracted by his kid in the car.  Maybe he was changing something on his music system.  Is the DMV now responsible since they issued him a license.  Is the car dealer responsible because they sold him the car.

Or say a guy buys a handgun, very legally for self defence.  Then for whatever reason he is carrying it and it accidentally goes off or he deliberately shoots someone.  Whatever.  Is the store that sold him the gun and bullets responsible.

In all these cases, if you apply the same logic, as the bar being responsible, there are others who can be held responsible.  Yet only the bar owner is being sued and in all other cases, only the driver is being sued.  This is exactly what I mean by selective enforcement.

That is why I say let the driver only be completely responsible.

I know I will be slated some more, but so be it.

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26 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

know I will be slated some more, but so be it. 

I won't slate you, principally because I agree with you.

The Florida "dram shop" statute I cited earlier concurs with the valid (legal) point another poster made: the difference between a bar and an ABC store is that the drinking in a bar occurs away from home, and the person has to get home.

My rebuttal to that is that many DUIs occur on the second beer run. A party is planned, booze is bought, the party takes place; at 10pm "Oh shit, we're out of beer." And some foolish soul digs out his car keys and decides to make a trip to the liquor store.

The argument is that the bar contributes to causation, when serving a driver who gets off his barstool and into his Ford to drive home. No such link exists in the case of the liquor store clerk.

Outside of the legal arguments, I agree with you. The guy who voluntarily tipped it down his own throat should bear the lion's share, if not all, of the responsibility for the poor decisions he made thereafter. The bartender just served it up, on request, like a guy pumping gas.

 

Edited by ScouseJohnny

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45 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

Suppose the same person, instead of sitting in the bar, had gone to a liquor store, bought one or two bottles of scotch, sat in a parking lot somewhere and drank most of it.  Then on his way home had the accident.

Those aren't the same situation. In one case he's serving himself. In the other, another person is capable of saying "gee, buddy, this is your eighth drink in the last 90 minutes and you look pretty hammered."

45 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

In all these cases, if you apply the same logic

No, you're not applying the same logic.

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You guys are all constructing a simple situation: “Bar serves drunk guy, he does something stupid.”

But, you don’t know the actual facts. There are a lot of things the bar ownership and staff/management may have done (either specific negligent actions that evening or general policies) that would make them also partially responsible for what occurred. 

(I feel like a broken record at this point)

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1 minute ago, Hardspoon said:

You guys are all constructing a simple situation: “Bar serves drunk guy, he does something stupid.”

But, you don’t know the actual facts. There are a lot of things the bar ownership and staff/management may have done (either specific negligent actions that evening or general policies) that would make them also partially responsible for what occurred. 

(I feel like a broken record at this point)

Right.

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I'd hate to own and bar or restaurant and have to hire a bartender and have to judge whether he would be able to know when to stop serving a customer.  And what if one night he got lax or misjudged how drunk a customer was.  So now I'M going to get sued even though I wasn't there?  Does Tiger bear any responsibility in this death.  I'd hate to think that he did.  And an overly cautious bartender could kill my business.  I don't know about these lawsuits, unless it's an extremely obvious situation.  Isn't there a slippery slope in situations like this?  And what about this:  Suppose I'm sitting there and I see the guy is drunk.  Would I be responsible for not taking his keys away?  As a patron, wouldn't I be responsible for letting this drunk get into his car?  Couldn't I be sued for letting this drunk get into his car?  After all, I saw him stagger out of the place and get into his car.  How much responsibility should I bear?

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