Personal Injury Lawsuit Versus Can Proceed to Trial

Posted on: June 26th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A March 2010 decision by a Lancaster County PA Trial Judge overruled the Preliminary Objections of the defendant restaurant/bar and permitted a personal injury suit to go to trial.  In March of 2008 a woman drove the wrong way on Route 30 and crashed head-on into a vehicle killing 3 of its occupants.  A police investigation identified the defendant driver as intoxicated and driving without a license due to a suspension because of a prior DUI charge.

A Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer filed a lawsuit versus the defendant driver, her parents and the bar that served her alcohol before the car wreck.  The Complaint alleged that the bar served the defendant driver with alcohol in violation of the Dram Shop Act and on legal theories based upon common law negligence.  A claim for punitive damages was also made.

The Preliminary Objections were filed to strike the punitive damage claim, as well as allegations of common law negligence.  The Estate of the personal injury victims properly plead facts to support a punitive damage claim.  The Lancaster County Common Pleas Judge ruled that the Dram Shop Act is not the exclusive remedy against a licensee due to the furnishing of alcoholic beverages to a visibly intoxicated person.  Court of Common Pleas Lancaster County PA. No. C1-09-08267 (March 10, 2010 J. Ashworth)

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