Plaintiff in this case worked in a bar where it was her job to flirt with the customers and get them to drink more. At the end of the night, one of the very drunk customers offered to give her a ride home. The driver drove his car off the road and plaintiff received a significant spinal cord injury. Unfortunately, the driver only had a $15,000 insurance policy.
The defendant bar owner denied any liability due to a California law that prohibits lawsuits against bar owners for injuries caused by people who became drunk in their facility. Further, the defendant claimed plaintiff was also at fault for entering in a car with a man who was drunk whom she knew was too drunk to drive safely.
When the law offices of Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP, came into the case, there was no offer. The law firm put forth a theory of liability that there should be an exception to the usual prohibition against suing bar owners for drunk driving injuries because, in this case, it was part of the plaintiff’s job to get customers drunk. Further, since the bar did not have worker’s compensation insurance, plaintiff should be able to sue her employer for her injuries.
RESULT: $2,500,000 default judgment for the plaintiff