How Bartenders Steal & How We Catch Them - Hospitality Checkpoint is a Bar Theft & Service Staff Evaluation Company. We spot Bartender Theft & Evaluate Service Staff Standards.

LIQUOR LIABILITY: $40 MILLION awarded in teen's death - Boy on bike killed by drunken driver

March 10, 2010 21:37 by administrator

Hello Bar Owners & Hospitality Checkpoint Clients - This is EXACTLY why we stress in our Hospitality Checkpoint Reports about liquor liability in regards to over service. Bar Owners, regular Hospitality Checkpoint evaluations that report on your staff in regards to over service can really help you if you happen to unfortunately find your self in a dram shop (liquor liability) lawsuit. Regular reports AND follow up with DOCUMENTED action can help indemnify you in a lawsuit as it shows that you are making an effort with the standard of care in regards to liquor service.


$40 MILLION awarded in teen's death

Boy on bike killed by drunken driver

A Pima County jury awarded the parents of a Tucson boy killed by a drunk driver $40 million Friday. City taxpayers will be responsible for a third of that, with the driver and Chuy's restaurant sharing responsibility for the rest.

Jose Rincon Jr., 14, and a friend were riding their bicycles east on East Broadway near Harrison Road around 7:20 p.m. Jan. 12, 2008, when Glenda Rumsey struck both teens with her car. Rincon died.

Although the city was found to be only one-third responsible, its more than $13 million share is the largest individual judgment ever against the city, dwarfing the $1.75 million paid to the family of Deshun Chance Glover, who was electrocuted at the Hi Corbett Field complex in Reid Park in July 2008.

Rumsey, whose blood-alcohol level was 0.249 two hours after the crash, was sentenced to 14 years in prison last year. Chuy's, which is where she had been drinking, has already settled with the family for an undisclosed amount.

A lawyer for the family argued successfully that the city was partially at fault because of the poor design of the road.

City Attorney Mike Rankin said the city will appeal. He said he was surprised both by the amount and by the city's being found 33 percent responsible.

"This is shocking," Rankin said, adding he was stunned at the amount and "the notion the city would be equally responsible as a drunk driver that was three times the legal limit."

Jose and Adriana Rincon burst into tears when the verdict was read.

After having been through both a criminal and a civil trial, nothing has changed, Adriana Rincon said. "It doesn't bring him back. Tomorrow I still have to find a way to cope."

Jose Rincon said the lawsuit was never about money.

"The main reason we're here is for vindication and to carry the ball the whole 10 yards on (Jose Jr.'s) behalf," he said.

The three-way finding of blame validated their belief there was a "perfect storm" of variables that came together and took their son's life, Jose Rincon said.

"In my heart of hearts it started with Glenda Rumsey, but that doesn't excuse irresponsible business practices nor cavalier decision-making on the implementation of well-thought-out and carefully designed building plans," he said.

Last week, the Rincons' attorney, Ronald Mercaldo, told jurors a city engineer abandoned plans to add 5 feet of asphalt to the roadway during an improvement project, creating a large offset in the lanes on either side of Vozack Lane, just east of Harrison. As a result, Rumsey ended up in the bike lane when her lane ended and she tried to merge.

Rumsey's attorney, Stefano Corradini, agreed his client and Chuy's were largely responsible for the crash, but he, too, blamed the city because of the road design. He would not comment after the verdict.

Attorney Richard Davis, who defended the city, told jurors that engineers did nothing wrong. He blamed Rumsey, saying roads can't be designed to be drunken-driver-proof.

The jury deliberated less than three hours.

Mercaldo said he was grateful to the jury but noted the judgment will never compensate the Rincons for their loss.

Jose, a straight-A student at St. Michael's Parish Day School, died hours after he took entrance exams for Salpointe Catholic High School.

The middle of the Rincons' three children, Jose Jr. was known to be kind and an exceptional musician and talented athlete.

Judge Kenneth Lee presided over the trial.

Michael Zenner - CEO  

hospitality checkpoints Inc.  (blog)
Hospitality Checkpoint PLLC
PI Lic. 1597616

PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811