(CN) – The South Dakota Supreme Court held a motor speedway liable for an after-hours motorcycle accident caused by an underage employee who drank throughout his entire shift.
Dean Curry, 20, worked at Park Jefferson Speedway as a “runner” who supplied alcohol to the race track’s concession stands and bars. After a night of working and drinking, he drove around the track a couple of times in his pickup truck before heading home.
Curry was drunk and driving on the wrong side of the road when he hit a motorcycle. Catherine McGuire, a passenger on the motorcycle, was seriously hurt. She sued Curry and the speedway.
The trial revealed that Curry has a history of substance abuse when he was hired. The speedway gave him the key to its alcohol supply. On the night of the accident, Curry had nine drinks at work, plus a 32-ounce beer after his shift ended.
The trial court ruled for the speedway, which it ruled owed no duty of care to McGuire. Justice Konenkamp reversed, saying the speedway’s no-drinking policy was meaningless because it was not enforced.
“We decline to hold that an employer affirmatively undertakes a general duty to the public based on the sole fact that the employer adopted a no-drinking policy,” Konenkamp wrote.