A jury has found a Pennsylvania restaurant liable for continuing to serve alcohol to an intoxicated man who later caused a car accident that severely injured Ryan Fell. The jury awarded $6.8 million in damages to Ms. Fell, who was driving home after visiting a friend on March 15, 2007, when the crash occurred.
Omar Villalava-Martinez had stopped at the Famous Mexican Restaurant & Bar, located in Coatesville, after work. In the course of two hours, the man drank 12 beers and topped that off with a shot of liquor. By his own testimony, he became very drunk and the bar continued to serve him. The man – in a drunken state – left the bar in a Ford Explorer about 9:30 p.m. He had traveled about four miles down the road when his Explorer crossed the center line and crashed into Ms. Fell’s vehicle.
Ms. Fell was seriously injured in the crash which crumpled her Nissan. The 22-year-old received broken legs in the crash. Even though her ankle bone was ejected from her body, fortunately, doctors saved her foot. More than three years after the accident, walking is still painful for Ms. Fell. She lost her job as an administrative assistant for a trucking company and remains unemployed.
Villalava-Martinez, an illegal immigrant, has been deported to Mexico, and the restaurant has closed. Under state civil law in Pennsylvania, establishments can be held liable for serving visibly intoxicated customers who later kill or seriously injure another person. Dawson R. Muth, a lawyer, with Goldberg, Meanix, & Muth, located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, represented Ms. Fell and did a very good job.
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