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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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$1,020,000 Settlement – Drunk Driver Strikes Motorcycle (Osceola County, FL)

A man who drank himself into an intoxication level more than twice the legal limit drove his truck into a motorcycle while pulling out of the bar parking lot.  Our client was struck by the drunk driver, sustaining serious orthopedic injuries.

Under Florida law, bringing cases against businesses who serve alcohol is very difficult. The law protects restaurants and bars thanks to a strong political lobby and Florida being a hospitality-oriented state dependent on tourism.  As a result, in order to bring a “dram shop” case in Florida, a victim must prove that a bar or restaurant knowingly served a habitual drunkard (alcoholic) and in fact over-served that person, and that person then caused harm to another.  This makes for very difficult cases against bars and restaurants who profit from getting people to buy lots of drinks.

The man driving into our client had been served many drinks at a club.  The case was brought in Osceola County, and John Elliott Leighton proved that the operators knew that the man had a drinking problem yet continued to serve him.   Mr. Leighton obtained a $1,020,000 settlement prior to trial, ensuring our client financial security. Diaz v. Eagles, et al.

This is one example of where a dram shop case succeeded in Florida despite the best efforts by the hospitality industry to give itself immunity from over-serving drunks and letting them get behind the wheel.


Disclaimer: The information about past verdicts and settlements of the firm’s cases are based on the unique facts of each case. These amounts reflect the gross recovery in each case (before attorneys fees, expenses and medical costs are deducted). Although these results were obtained by our firm, they may not indicate the success or value of any other case. By clicking on Verdicts and Settlements you are acknowledging that each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The information contained here has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar.