Quassy sued for drunk driving accident allegedly caused by man who drank at park

Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2012 10:04 AM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

A former Litchfield business owner and a Watertown woman are suing Quassy Amusement Park after she was hit by a drunken driver in July 2011. Earlier in the day, the driver had attended a team-building event for Pitney Bowes at Quassy, where alcohol was made available and sold to employees inside the lakeside park's picnic area, court documents state.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012 10:18 AM

See, guys, this is why you don't want to be a bartender anywhere. When something bad happens out there, even hours later, the s*** trickles down to your restaurant, your bar, and you.
This will probably change a few things for Quassy, particularly their corporate event bring-in policy. (which makes me wonder what they were thinking there, anyway...)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 10:19 AM
Jeff's avatar

What's the precedent for cases like this? Every drunk driver has to drink somewhere, so isn't it ultimately the driver's fault? Where does it stop, the stores, distributors, manufacturers?

Sue the dude, absolutely, but the park strikes me as absurd.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:36 AM

I would surmise that they already have and found out that it wouldn't amount to much. Quassy has much deeper pockets, so that's what they are going after.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:39 AM

This would never happen in Europe. People over here maybe aren't very smart, but suing a park for serving alcohol is so dumb even Europeans wouldn't try it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:43 AM

Pitney-Bowes probably has even deeper pockets than Quassy. Funny they didn't allege that the company was at fault for choosing to have alcohol available at their event. Ironic that one plaintiff's address is the same as a bar that's gone out of business.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:44 AM
bjames's avatar

It's the park's fault that this guy was driving around drunk? Lol this isn't going anywhere.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:54 AM

I googled "bartender liability" and this is one of the things that came up.
Granted, it's a yahoo answer, but this person has the sad facts. It's unlikely they can prove anything, but they can and will come after the establishment and the person who served them.
I'm not an attorney, but I do know whenever there's a negligent/ wrong- doing lawsuit the complainant always throws in everybody and anybody who may have been even remotely involved, and it gets weeded out from there. We see that in amusement ride accidents, where they sue everyone from the manufacturer, their subs, the park, and even the poor ride operator, just to cover the bases.
So to sue Quassy for this man's actions seems like a stretch, and they'll probably be in the clear at the end, but like I said, it will most likely lead to a change in a couple of their policies.
I also thought it was 'odd' that the address led to a bar! See? They know what to do, and I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't at the other end of something similar at one time or another!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 12:18 PM
Jeff's avatar

It begs the question, how do you prove the guy wasn't throwing them back on his car afterward? What if he was drunk beforehand? I don't see how you hold anyone liable other than the drunk.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 12:48 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Unfortunately, this isn't surprising. I had to go through training every year I wanted to work a concession stand at Progressive Field. They pound into your head the rules about serving people and what to watch for. Additionally, because there is such a liability, anytime you ever refuse to serve someone, regardless of the reason, you can not be punished for it. Our stand leader said they would always back us up when refusing to serve a customer.

People have been sued and convicted for things like this before. There is precedence.

854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:21 PM
James Whitmore's avatar

To continue this line of thinking even further, someone should sue the state for issueing the guy a driver's license.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:47 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

It's from the page of a DUI attorney, but...

Dram Shop Laws

Cimino v. The Milford Keg, Inc., 385 Mass. 323 (1981). In that case, a jury found that the bartender was negligent in serving a patron who was exhibiting “drunk, loud and vulgar” behavior and was “visibly intoxicated,” and therefore the death of the pedestrian was proximately caused by the bartender’s negligent act under the state’s Dram Shop Laws.

In the U.S., Dram Shop Laws refer to those laws that dictate liability, either criminal or civil, in cases where the act of providing alcohol may have played a role in an injury or infraction caused by a person under the influence of alcohol. Dram Shop Laws are mainly concerned with the activities of liquor stores and establishments that serve alcohol. The most common incidents addressed by the Dram Shop Laws on the books in more than 40 states involve injuries caused by drunk drivers, but these laws have also been a part of cases involving bar fights and other unlawful behavior.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 2:06 PM

I'm right with ya, Jason Hammond. Our group used to work Nationwide Arena, and we had that same mandatory training, conducted by state liquor control agents. (They were dead serious, and we had better be paying attention.) Not only was there an emphasis on the age/underage thing, but also how to determine who to serve and when not to, as the arena and our group might be liable. It was a real eye-opener.
The interesting thing was that different events had different rules, as established by the arena. Most concerts had a one drink per ID rule. Nothing worse than having to tell the dude who'd been waiting in a long beer line that he could have his, but his girlfriend (who was waiting in the long ladies room line) had to show up with her ID too before he could get hers. Hockey games were 2 per ID, and events like Disney on Ice or the Longaberger Bee were unlimited!
Now, there's still a lot of grey. What's to prevent someone from legally purchasing a beverage, then go to their seat and hand it to someone who's already stinking, or underage? The liquor agents were all over that place, and the arena got suspended a couple times for infractions. We were required to swipe the customer's ODL (for age verification) but I'd inevitably get the guy who'd yell that we were keeping track of his purchases so the cops could bust him later. I would usually just give him my famous slow blink...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 2:37 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

John Paul Jones arena on UVA campus had a 4-drink max rule when I was there for concerts in 2010, and I'm sure it's still in place. I'll find out in December.

They track it by ID'ing you, giving you a bracelet, and punching holes or marking a black X on it each time you get a drink. You could walk away with more than one at a time, but you couldn't buy more than 4 over the course of the night.

I guess I don't see why someone couldn't buy 4 drinks, take off their wrist band, go to another floor and get re-ID'd, and be able to buy 4 more, but that's kind of pushing it. I don't want to spend the time away from the show, or the effort to do that.

R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 3:26 PM

Especially at 8 bucks a beer, right?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 4:00 PM

bjames said:
It's the park's fault that this guy was driving around drunk? Lol this isn't going anywhere.

Who would have thought spilling hot coffee in your lap, or burning your mouth eating hot nachos would go anywhere either. I seem to feel that texting and driving seems to be more dangerous anymore than drunk driving. Not that I'm okay with drinking and driving, but I almost got t-boned at an intersection yesterday from someone who was texting, she missed me and got anotrher person going the other way. I stopped and waited for the police to see if they needed a witness. When the cop asked the woman what she was doing when driving through the red light? The woman said she was texting her boyfriend about dinner. Sorry, just had to rant about it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 4:08 PM

Article states that ladies car was hit at 5:58pm. If park stopped serving at 2pm, 4 hours is more than enough time to sober up. She should be going after PB for supplying alcohol after the park stopped.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7:54 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

People really need to stop referencing the McDonald's coffee suit in a negative light. Why is it so difficult to comprehend, that the coffee was served dangerously above acceptable/safe temperature?

Last edited by Raven-Phile, Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7:54 PM
R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:45 PM

It's difficult to comprehend society's sue happy nature for things that should be cleared up by everybody using just a little bit of common sense.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 10:01 PM

If the park can prove it stopped serving at 2:00 and the accident occurred around 6:00, the guy did 4 hours of drinking somewhere else. I can see why the plaintiffs wouldn't be interested in finding out if he drank in some little dive bars after the park, since that would lessen the park's culpability legally and financially. Better to sue the park with more money than some bar that sells 20 six packs a day.

It makes me wonder though, who goes to a company "team-building" event and gets ****-faced in front of the company VP, a few managers, and the folks from HR? But if the guy really did get drunk while at the park, you wonder why those same company officials let him drive in that condition.


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