$1,100,000 Settlement for Premises Liability / Dram Shop

John E. Molinari represented a 21-year-old Newark man who was critically injured in a one vehicle accident not far from his home. Our client was a rear seat passenger in a car driven by one of his friends; another friend was a front seat passenger. The driver had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit and was not old enough to consume alcohol at the time. The driver’s insurance company quickly offered their full policy limits of $100,000, but, there were difficulties in trying to establish where the friends had been drinking. Our client was in a coma for more than six months and when he awoke, he had no recollection of the events leading up to the accident. He is now blind in one eye, has limited mental processing skills and walking ability. Just after the crash the other young men gave very conflicting information about the location of the drinking apparently in an effort to protect someone at the bar. Further complicating the investigation was the fact that the driver was facing criminal prosecution and refused to cooperate under the advice of his attorney. John Molinari located a witness who claimed that the three friends were drinking in an American Legion Hall in Kenilworth, but the witness then went in to hiding and refused to cooperate. Eventually the driver pled guilty to charges of causing injuries to our client while intoxicated and was sentenced to jail. While in jail, he gave a deposition identifying the American Legion Hall as the place where the men consumed the alcohol. After learning that the driver finally told the truth, the front seat passenger also named the Hall in a deposition. The attorney for the Hall then offered their full insurance limits of $1,000,000 to settle the case.