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Drunken Driver’s Friend Faces Suit by Bar

(CN) - A man suing the Pennsylvania bar that served the drunken driver who injured him in a crash must face civil claims from that same bar, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Douglas Arpert issued the order late last month in the consolidated complaint against the New Hope, N.J., bar Havana, over a drunken-driving crash that occurred in the early-morning hours of March 16, 2012.

Ryan Alley had been drinking at Havana before he got behind the wheel of the car owned by his friend, Michael Krassan.

Krassan's negligence complaint against Havana says the bar served Alley alcoholic drinks until Alley became uncoordinated, "loud and boisterous," exhibiting slurred speech and "glassy bloodshot eyes."

Alley lost control of Krassan's car at about 2:05 a.m., colliding with a chain-link fence, a street sign, and a tree. Alley's autopsy showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .21 percent, according to the complaint.

Krassan survived the crash with severe and permanent internal and external injuries. His case in Trenton against Havana was consolidated with suits filed against the bar by Bonnie Alley, as administrator of her son's estate, and by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., which insured Krassan's car.

Judge Arpert found on Nov. 20 that Havana can file a third-party complaint against Krassan based on the claim that Krassan gave his keys to Alley and let him drive even though he was allegedly clearly drunk.

If "Krassan's alleged negligent entrustment of his vehicle to Ryan Alley caused or contributed to the accident, Michael Krassan would be secondarily liable to Havana for his share of the damages claimed by Bonnie Alley under the Joint Tortfeasors Contribution Act and/or the Comparative Negligence Act," Arpert wrote.

"Additionally, none of the parties oppose Havana's motion and there is no indication that granting Havana leave to file a third-party complaint against Michael Krassan will complicate the trial of this matter or result in prejudice the any of the parties," the judge added.

Alpert's ruling also allows Liberty Mutual to file an amended complaint against Havana's insurance carrier, Crum and Forester Insurance Company (CFIC).

Claiming that it has paid medical providers the limit of Krassan's policy - more than $250,000 - as a result of the accident, Liberty Mutual says CFIC should responsible for additional benefits.

Judge Arpert found that Liberty Mutual also filed its Oct. 9 motion "well within the deadline for amendments."

"There is nothing before the court to suggest bad faith or any dilatory motive by Liberty Mutual in moving to amend its complaint," Arpert wrote.

Krassan says Havana advertised to College of New Jersey students in Ewing, N.J., via campus billboards and the student newspaper, and that the bar regularly provided transportation to and from campus.

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