Madison Square Garden Settles Dram Shop Liability Case

An off-duty New Jersey police officer went on a drinking binge in January 2007. After an evening of drinking, the man reportedly plowed his Jeep Cherokee into a car on the Pulaski Skyway. A 2-year-old boy was killed and his 37-year-old mother was left in a vegetative state after the accident. The woman succumbed to her injuries after three years.

The family of the victims brought a lawsuit for damages against at least two establishments, including Madison Square Garden that had served the off-duty officer the night of the fatal crash for dram-shop liability. A Commercial establishment that is negligent in serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person who later becomes involved in an accident may be liable for damages to a victim of the crash.

The Garden recently settled the lawsuit without trial. The total amount in damages has not been disclosed, but the settlement reportedly amounts to a multi-million dollar total.

The man had eight beers at one establishment and then continued on to watch a game. The officer caught a NCAA basketball game at Madison Square Garden the evening of January 23, 2007, and reportedly was served roughly a dozen beers. That amounted to around one beer every twelve minutes while at the Garden.

The off-duty officer jumped into his Jeep Cherokee and headed to the Pulaski Skyway in Jersey City. On the Pulaski Skyway the man reportedly ran his Jeep into the rear of a car with such force that the Jeep ran up the backside of the car and flipped over.

The accident killed a 2-year-old boy. A 37-year-old woman in the vehicle was left in a vegetative state for 3-years. She died in March, with medical bills reportedly in the millions.

The alcohol related wrongful death settlement does not include the establishment that served the man before he went to the Garden. An employee from the bar reportedly has testified the off-duty cop was visibly tipsy when he left the establishment. The New York Post reports that a videotape of the man taken outside the New York establishment shows the man was unsteady on his feet.

The bar reportedly informed the judge it will not agree to mediate the matter until the terms of the Madison Square Garden settlement are disclosed.

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