MIAMI (CN) – A law school gave students “unlimited access” to alcohol at its annual “Barrister’s Ball,” and four people burned to death in a car crash caused by a drunk student driving on the wrong side of the road, grieving families claim in court.
Amy Lopez, Germania Huntington and Shawn Huntington burned to death in the crash, as did the drunk law student, Anwar Janania, Lopez’s father claims in Miami-Dade County Court.
He sued St. Thomas University, which threw the bash, Scarlett’s Cabaret, a strip club where Janania allegedly continued drinking, and State Farm Insurance.
The complaint states: “On March 17, 2012, defendant St. Thomas University Law School sponsored and hosted a formal event called the ‘Barrister’s Ball’ at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 provided student invitees with unlimited access to alcoholic beverages. [Sic.]
Lopez claims it was an annual even and St. Thomas U knew “that students generally consumed excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages at all past ‘Barrister’s Ball’ events.”
The complaint continues: “On March 17, 2012, Anwar Janania … was a first year law student at St. Thomas University, and he attended said event where he consumed an unlimited and excessive amount of alcoholic beverages.
“Prior to March 17, 2012, Janania had a serious drinking problem and habitually consumed alcohol.
“On March 17, 2012, Janania became visibly and noticeably intoxicated at the St. Thomas Law School Barrister’s ball. Administration and/or representatives of St. Thomas knew or should have known of Mr. Janania’s past issue with the alcohol and his current intoxication yet St. Thomas administration and/or representatives made no effort to prevent Mr. Janania from leaving the ball and driving his vehicle in his drunken state.
“Janania then drove his 2010 Volvo to the ‘strip club’ known as Scarlett’s Cabaret in Hallandale, where he entered the club in a drunken state and proceeded to become even more intoxicated.”
Lopez claims Janania was a regular customer at Scarlett’s, where he regularly drank “excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages, which placed Scarlett’s Cabaret staff on notice of Janania’s alcoholism.”
He claims Scarlett’s continued to serve Janania drinks “in the early hours of March 18, 2102,” though he was “visibly and excessively intoxicated.”
After leaving the strip club, “Janania lost control of his vehicle when driving in the westbound lanes of the Gratigny Parkway and began driving in the wrong direction on the expressway, against oncoming traffic,” the complaint states.
Janania drove head-on into Germania and Shawn Huntington’s Mazda CX-7, killing the husband and wife and their passenger Amy Lopez, and himself, Lopez says.
“Janania’s Volvo collided head on into the Huntington/Lopez vehicle and both cars burst into flames.
“Amy Lopez, Germania Huntington and Shawn Huntington burned to death in their vehicle. Amy Lopez was 23 years old and Germania Huntington was 28 years old at the time of their deaths.
“Anwar Janania was also killed in the crash. According to the autopsy reports, Janania’s blood alcohol level was over twice the legal limit,” the complaint states.
Lopez seeks damages for statutory liability from the college and the strip club, and claims State Farm breach contract by failing to honor Germania Huntington’s $100,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Lopez and his wife also seek damages for pain and suffering and loss of consortium. They are represented by Richard Sharp, with Mallard & Sharp.