Ohio Verdicts

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Motorist was over-served alcohol prior to accident: lawsuit

Amount:

$1,500,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Ohio

Venue:

Monroe County

Court:

Monroe County, Court of Common Pleas, Woodsfield

Injury Type(s):

arm-fracture (fracture, radius), arm (fracture, radius);
head-closed head injuries; brain-internal bleeding; elbow-dislocation; other-plate; other-physical therapy; other-pins/rods/screws; surgeries/treatment-internal fixation; mental/psychological-emotional distress; gastrointestinal/digestive-liver (liver, laceration); gastrointestinal/digestive-spleen

Case Type:

Motor Vehicle – Head-On, Speeding; Hotel/Restaurant – Dram Shop; Motor Vehicle – Alcohol Involvement; Worker/Workplace Negligence – Negligent Service of Alcohol

Case Name:

Tayler M. Hansen v. Carol A. Jones, Monroe County Post 5303 VFW and Beallsville American Legion,
No. CVC2014-401

Date:

September 15, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Tayler M. Hansen (Female, 21 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Louis H. Khourey;
Gold, Khourey & Turak;
Moundsville,
WV,
for
Tayler M. Hansen ■ Teena Miller;
Gold, Khourey & Turak;
Moundsville,
WV,
for
Tayler M. Hansen

Defendant(s):

Carol A. Jones, 

Beallsville American Legion, 

Monroe County Post 5303 VFW

Defense Attorney(s):

None reported;
;
for
Monroe County Post 5303 VFW ■ Joseph V. Erwin;
Craig S. Cobb Law Offices;
Columbus,
OH,
for
Carol A. Jones ■ Todd Abbott;
Yoss Law Office;
Woodsfield,
OH,
for
Beallsville American Legion

Facts:

On Dec. 15, 2014, plaintiff Tayler M. Hansen, 21, was operating her vehicle in Beallsville. A vehicle operated by Carol A. Jones in the opposite direction of Hansen crossed the center line and collided head-on with Hansen’s car. Hansen claimed multiple bodily injuries, including a closed head injury with a brain bleed. Hansen sued Jones, alleging that Jones was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Hansen also sued the Beallsville American Legion and Monroe County Post 5303 VFW, the manager of the Beallsville American Legion, on the basis that Jones had been drinking at the American Legion before the accident. Prior to trial, the Monroe County Post 5303 VFW was dismissed from the case. The case proceeded against the remaining defendants. Hansen alleged that Jones was driving while intoxicated and that she was traveling in excess of the posted speed limit at the time of the collision. According to Hansen, Jones had been drinking at the Beallsville American Legion before the accident. Hansen argued that the American Legion had negligently served Jones in that employees continued to serve Jones alcohol after she became visibly intoxicated. Hansen noted that the police report indicated that Jones’ blood alcohol content level was found to be more than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash. Moreover, Hansen argued that the black box recovered from Jones’ vehicle indicated that Jones was driving 70 mph when the car went left of center and hit Hansen’s vehicle head-on. Jones contended that the American Legion shared responsibility for the accident, asserting that the American Legion was negligent in continuing to serve her alcohol after she became visibly intoxicated. The American Legion argued that Jones did not appear visibly intoxicated at the bar prior to the accident and that she had only been served two drinks.

Injury:

Hansen was life-flighted to Ruby Memorial Hospital. She was diagnosed with a closed head injury, bleeding brain, ruptured spleen, fractured radius in her right (dominant) arm, dislocated right elbow and lacerated liver. Hansen underwent multiple surgeries, including surgery to stop the bleeding in her brain, repair her spleen and repair the right arm fracture with implantation of a plate and screws. She also underwent a period of physical therapy. Hansen claimed residual pain and limitations performing activities of daily living. She also claimed emotional distress due to the crash. She claimed she will require medical care for the rest of her life. Hansen sought compensatory damages for past and future medicals and past and future pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages against the American Legion. The defense did not actively dispute Hansen’s damages and instead focused on liability.

Result:

The jury attributed 70 percent liability to Jones and 30 percent liability to the American Legion. The jury determined that Hansen’s damages totaled $1.5 million, including $500,000 in punitive damages against the American Legion.

Tayler M. Hansen: $500,000 Personal Injury: Punitive Exemplary Damages; $1,000,000 Personal Injury: compensatory damages

Trial Information:

Judge:

George Burkhart

Trial Length:

5
 days

Trial Deliberations:

3
 hours

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. Defense counsel for Jones did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls. Defense counsel for Beallsville American Legion declined to comment.