Buncombe County Dram Shop Victory for Defense

28 Feb 2019 11:29 AM | Jennifer Edwards (Administrator)

On March 27, 2018, a jury in Bumcombe County Superior Court, Judge Tommy Davis presiding, rendered a unanimous verdict for the defendant LJ Wings, Inc., represented by NCADA member Jeremy Stephenson, in a case of dram shop liability.  Ellen Wortman represented co-defendant William Erickson, who had stipulated to his liability before trial.  Plaintiff Dung Trang was represented by attorneys Lakota Denton and Luke Baker.  Trial Judge Davis granted Defendants’ motion to “trifurcate” the case into (1) Wings’ liability, (2) compensatory damages, and if applicable, (3) punitive damages.  The jury ruled for Wings as to liability, and did not reach the other issues.

Mr. Erickson drank at Defendant Wings regularly, and for several hours before the accident. Wings’ witnesses testified to their extensive safe alcohol service training, including how they cut off defendant Erickson, gave him food and water, and asked about how he was getting home. Plaintiff’s counsel made unusual motion in limine to bar Defendants’ use of either plaintiff’s medical bills or records, or wage documentation.  Plaintiff himself also did not attend any part of the trial, from selection to the verdict for Wings.  Costs of $9,276.04 were awarded to Defendant Wings.

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