Settlement of $900,000 of Dram Shop Case

Posted on Jun 02, 2010
On June 1, 2010, a settlement was reached in the sum of $900,000 on the day before trial in the United States Court in the Northern District of New York, arising from the death of a 47-year old in a motor vehicle accident in the Town of Queensbury, County of Queensbury, New York on February 26, 2005. The decedent was survived by her 61-year old husband and 7-year old daughter.  The settling defendants included the Estate of Jason Goodspeed and the Adirondack Bar & Grill, which was owned and operated by James Valastro.

Just after midnight on February 26, 2005, the car driven by the alleged drunk driver, Jason Goodspeed, crossed double yellow solid lines on a state highway directly into the path of the vehicle driven by the plaintiff about 1.8 miles from the Adirondack Bar & Grill.  Both vehicles were demolished in the head-on collision.  The plaintiff had no chance to take evasive measures to avoid the collision, and he and his wife were extricated from their car by the Town of Queensbury Fire Department.  The 61-year old plaintiff sustained substantial orthopedic injuries in the crash necessitating multiple operations at the Albany Medical Center and Boston General Hospital, and his wife died four hours after the collision as a result of internal bleeding.

The alleged drunk driver, Jason Goodspeed, had a blood alcohol level of .20%, more than twice the legal limit for driving while intoxicated.  The plaintiff's forensic toxicologist estimated that Goodspeed consumed 11 to 15 beers prior to leaving the Adirondack Bar & Grill at midnight, just minutes before the crash occurred, and he further opined that Goodspeed would have had the appearance of gross intoxication when he was last served beer at the Adirondack Bar & Grill based on his blood alcohol level.  Eyewitnesses at the bar confirmed that Goodspeed drank beer at the Adirondack Bar & Grill for 4 hours just prior to the motor vehicle accident.

The dram shop coverage for the Adirondack Bar & Grill was limited to $1 million.