When evidence in a wrongful death action against a negligent purveyor of alcohol goes missing, it bodes badly for the defendants. Georgia Courts view such tampering with evidence as an indication of guilt.
Another Georgia DUI Tragedy
A 36-year old married Cobb County man was on his way home from work one October evening when he was hit by a vehicle operated by a man who had been drinking at an Austell sports bar and grill prior to the crash. He died from blunt force trauma.
The Defendant refused blood alcohol tests the night of the accident, but admitted during his testimony that he had ingested two Long Island iced teas and six, 16-ounce beers prior to driving. Witnesses also testified that they smelled alcohol on the defendant’s breath.
The Defendant driver faced DUI and vehicular homicide charges.
A civil suit was brought in the Cobb County State Court against the drunk driver and a dram shop liability case was filed on behalf of the decedent’s estate against defendant bar and grill. The defendant bar denied liability.
A Local Bars Negligence and Attempt to Demolish Evidence
The surveillance tape from the evening in question revealed only a few seconds of tape showing the Defendant Driver entering and leaving the establishment. Based upon the fact that the Defendant Sports Grill had taped over much of the video from the evening in question, Plaintiff sought damages for spoliation of evidence.
In addition, plaintiff argued that the bar destroyed the liquor tabs for wo other patrons who were drinking with the Defendant on the night in question. The bar’s list showing free drinks given out by bartenders were also inexplicably destroyed.
The Judge granted the motion for spoliation of evidence and struck the portions of defense pleadings that denied serving alcohol to Defendant Davis while he was in a state of noticeable intoxication knowing that he would soon be driving. This removed much or all of the Defendant’s argument for his own innocence.
Ultimately, this case was settled in favor of the Decedent’s estate for $1,000,000.
In spite of the Sports Grill’s attempt to make evidence in this case disappear, the Court saw through the ruse. The wheels of justice in this case turned toward those who were injured by the negligence of others.
Seeking Professional Legal Advice After an Accident
All too often, innocent victims fear that their injuries cannot be pursued in court because the evidence doesn’t seem to be available. Before you settle a claim for injuries or death, seek advice from the legal professionals at The Millar Law Firm. We have years of experience in seeing the evidence you may not. Call or email us today with the details of your case. Let us evaluate your case before you sign your rights away.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above article is a factually-accurate case history of an actual previously litigated or settled Georgia case. The case was reported on in local media and/or legal reporting services and it was not handled by The Millar Law Firm. However, we think our current and prospective clients may find this information interesting and informative as the case is factually similar to cases our office routinely handles. Please be advised that The Millar Law Firm makes no guarantees your case will have a similar outcome, as past results and results of our firm or of other lawyers and law firms are not indicative of future performance.