Joyce & Reyes Personal Injury Attorney Explains Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Alleged Drunk Driver and Clearwater Nightclub
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 19, 2014 – The parents of a woman killed by an allegedly drunk driver are suing the driver and the nightclub where he worked.
In the early morning hours of September 2, 2013, Christopher Patrick Weed left Shephard’s Beach Resort in Clearwater, Florida after finishing his shift as a “bar back.” According to the lawsuit, he had consumed “numerous” alcoholic beverages over the several hours previous. At about 6 a.m., on Clearwater Memorial Causeway, Weed struck and killed Rob Lemon, 25, and his girlfriend, Hilary Michalak, 27, who were riding a tandem bicycle.
Tampa personal injury attorney Robert Joyce, who is not involved in the lawsuit, explained its content.
“The lawsuit against the driver is pretty straightforward,” said Mr. Joyce. “He admitted to striking the two bicyclists the day after the accident. It was too late to get a blood alcohol reading on him, but apparently, there are witnesses to his drinking that night. The lawsuit against the nightclub, however, is trickier. The plaintiffs claim Shephard’s violated Florida’s ‘dram shop’ law, which holds businesses liable for selling alcohol to ‘habitually addicted’ individuals who then go on to cause injury or damage.”
The lawsuit claims Weed is a “habitual drunkard” who repeatedly consumed alcohol while working and goes on to say that his co-workers knew or should have known he was drunk when he left work. The suit also states that Shephard’s violated “accepted practices” by allowing staff members to drink while working.
Lemon died the day of the accident. Michalak died after nearly three weeks in a coma at St. Petersburg’s Bayfront Health hospital. Michalak’s family, who filed the lawsuit, seeks damages exceeding $15,000 to cover medical and funeral expenses. The Lemon family has not said whether they will join the lawsuit.
At least two other drivers have caused serious auto accidents after leaving Shephard’s. In April 2009, Joshua West left Shephard’s and crashed into Andrew Hall, severing Hall’s leg. West’s blood alcohol level was 0.188. In August 2002, Wayne Massmann veered off the Memorial Causeway after leaving Shephard’s. Two passengers escaped the car after it plunged into the water, but Massmann, who was ejected from the vehicle onto the bridge, was killed.
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