Thanks to one of my torts students, we have another interesting “dram shop” case. In New Jersey, Christine Mancision has filed a lawsuit after she was hurt by the drunken brother of the bride, Mary Graeber, at a wedding. James Graeber apparently is well named. He grabbed Mancision on the dance floor and ultimately knocked her down, causing her to break her wrist and requiring the insertion of a metal plate to reconstruct the wrist. However, she is not just suing Graeber but Hyatt Hotels Corp. for another $1 million in damages under New Jersey’s “dram shop” law.
Mancision, 27, was attending the wedding with her boyfriend, Brett Henige, who was invited to the wedding by his boss, groom Chris Beley. Brett immediately fingered James, who apparently was also a standout at the bachelor party as well.
Her claim against the brother is a simple battery count. It is the hotel claim that makes this one interesting. Hotels do fall under dram shop laws and she is alleging that the brother was visibly intoxicated but continued to be served alcohol. As we have seen with dram shop cases at stadiums (here), these are difficult cases for businesses. Weddings are very chaotic and fluid events. There is wine usually at the tables and an open bar. Hotels do not want to be an overriding or broodish presence at such functions by cutting off family members. More importantly, even if the bartender cuts off the bride’s brother, he can usually obtain the booze from the tables or friends.
Mancision’s lawyer does not see it that way. Kyle Watters objects, “I think the Hyatt owes an obligation to its guests . . . to not fuel the fire of intoxication by pouring alcohol down the throat of an intoxicated patron.”
This will be an interesting one to watch.
However, this week, Rev. Sun Myung Moon once again showed how “efficiency in numbers” applies to weddings and how to hold thousands of injury free event weddings at one time, here.
For the full story, click here.