Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Italian Restaurant Wins Wrongful Death Ruling

(CN) - An Italian restaurant is not liable for wrongful death after one of its customers got drunk and fell off a bridge to his death, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled.

After drinking at the Gondolier Italian Restaurant in Gatlinburg, Thomas Montgomery got into a cab, paid for by the restaurant, for a ride home.

The cab driver kicked Montgomery out onto the street after Montgomery said he did not want to go home and grabbed at the steering wheel twice. The cab driver called 911, but police did not locate Montgomery until two days later, when his body was found under a bridge.

Montgomery's widow sued the Gondolier for wrongful death under the Dram Shop Act.

The trial court ruled in the restaurant's favor, and Judge Susano upheld the decision in a case of first impression.

Susano ruled that the Dram Shop Act only applied to third parties who are hurt by the intoxicated party. The Act does not permit an action by the intoxicated party himself.

Also, Susano ruled that "a reasonable person can reach only one conclusion, and it is that Gondolier could not have foreseen the general manner in which the deceased's injuries occurred."

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