Tiger Woods flips his ball as he walks along the ninth green during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament, Monday, May 13, 2019, in Farmingdale, NY. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
The family of a bartender in a restaurant owned by Tiger Woods is suing the golfer, somehow blaming him because, after serving himself too many, the employee died in a single-car accident.
Next, a convenience store customer will sue the lad at the checkout who, after properly carding her, bagged and handed over a paid-for six-pack.
The reason for this suit: The clerk supposedly should have known the customer would down the entire six pack in the parking lot then drive over an embankment, causing the car to crash, catch fire, and severely burn the customer.
The latter makes as much sense as the former, right?
Sadly, Woods and his girlfriend, Erica Herman, who is listed as general manager of his Florida restaurant, are being sued – for wrongful death.
These days, you have to think there’s a totally unreasonable possibility that the court will see for the plaintiff – the now-deceased drunk bartender. Regardless of the plaintiff’s stupidity leading to the cause for the suit.
The civil complaint in the Tiger Wood case says restaurant employees – and, by default, the owner – should have kept the off-duty bartender from drinking, or at least drinking ‘too many’, because they knew he had been attending AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings. The fact that he did drink too many was attested to by his blood alcohol level of .256 – three times the legal limit.
CNN reported that the wrongful death suit is asking for an unspecified amount of damages.
This is a ridiculous lawsuit. But it exemplifies how victim-friendly juries in the US have become. And the trend is a bad one.
A side story: Thirty or so years ago, I worked in a bar/restaurant owned by a couple of guys whose understanding of the hospitality business came from their prior ownership of a nightclub. It burned down. They opened, just down the road, the place I worked in.
From all appearances, their focus was on seeing that their friends – and they seemed to have a lot of them – had fun… and that the booze kept flowing.
And flow it did: While the restaurant did a so-so business – three-quarters filled once then about half that volume on the ‘second turn’ on most nights except Saturday (which did better), the bar was a genuine cash cow.
The bartenders – there usually were two – were busy, not just serving customers but schmoozingly encouraging customers to buy more. And keeping the table servers happy: Several of us servers had a ‘thing’ going where we’d order, say, three drinks for a table and one for ourselves. It was pretty obvious to the staff that the tabs weren’t checked too closely by management, because the servers were seriously cutting into profits.
Some but not all servers drank from the time they put their first order in through closing time. Then the fun began.
The manager/owners invited ‘friendly’ servers to join them and their friends at the bar, where all carried on drinking, on the house, for a couple of hours or more. My drink of choice was Jack Daniels with a Heineken. On a typical night, after already having sipped through several Heinies while serving, I’d knock off two, three or more of those combos. Then drive home.
In that restaurant’s first three months, at least three staff members crashed their cars on the way home. I was among them.
At that time, my then wife and I rented an apartment in a pricey Connecticut town called home by many well-heeled Wall Street types. The local cops were, shall we say, ‘generous’ in their treatment of gentle drunk drivers. (I looked young, perhaps young enough to be mistaken for one of the well-off’s offspring.) Not only wasn’t I charged – after running down a row of guardrails and impaling my car thereon – I got a front-seat ‘free ride in a cop car’ home. (Cop car front seats then weren’t occupied by a computer and other high-tech gear, as they are today.)
There is no way that would happen anywhere today!
Woods reportedly was drinking with the bartender, Nicholas Immesberger, 24, a couple of night before the night in question, when he left Woods’ establishment three hours after his shift ended. Shortly thereafter, he crashed his Corvette and died.
His family’s suit alleges that the employees and management at Woods’ place promoted drinking by employees. As did those where I worked.
A fellow worker of mine not only crashed her car, she was hospitalized for several weeks. There was no talk – to my knowledge – of suing the restaurant for ‘encouraging’ staffers to drink on the job.
But they did.
US supermarkets are increasingly offering wine bars and other drinking ‘opportunities’ – beyond wine tasting, which, realistically, it would be hard for (most) customers to abuse.
That’s a fact that food sellers and their shoppers need to keep in mind: The former for insurance reasons, the latter because, despite the retailer’s best efforts, some people will over-imbibe. Then drive home.
And shoppers, truth be told, owe it to merchants to behave responsibly where drink and food samples – surely a subject for another posts! – are concerned.