Florida Bar Served to Point of Intoxication: Jury Verdict $19.6M

A young man in Florida finished work at 11 PM then walked a block to a popular local bar. As he became intoxicated while drinking several alcoholic beverages at the bar, a physical altercation developed just outside the front door on the sidewalk and street. A bouncer sent one of the patrons known to be an amateur fighter outside to take care of the problem. The first young man who became intoxicated while sitting at the bar a few feet away for 2 ½ hours was sent was sent out the front door into the middle of the brewing brawl. The young man in the presence of the bouncer who acted as a spectator standing in the doorway, asked everyone to calm down and go home, but the amateur fighter punched him, causing the young man to fall backwards and hit his head on the edge of the curb. He suffered serious brain damage. Although there is a modified Dram Shop law favoring the bar, Russ’ opinion included that the bar served the young man to the point of intoxication and continued to serve him while visibly intoxicated. He was rendered incapable of protecting himself because his stage of acute alcoholic influence and intoxication involved increased muscular incoordination, loss of perception, slowed reactions, diplopia, disorientation and mental confusion. Further, the security was inadequate and negligent. The jury returned a verdict of $19.6m.