Nicholas Immesberger worked as a bartender at The Woods in Jupiter, Florida. In December of 2018, on his way home from work, Immesberger was involved in an automobile accident that resulted in his death. His blood alcohol level was three times over the legal limit. This last May, Immesberger’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against The Woods, Tiger Woods, a known investor of the restaurant, and Erica Herman, Woods’ girlfriend, who worked as the restaurant’s general manager.
However, Immesberger’s family, will likely have a difficult time succeeding in their case against either Woods or Herman. Florida is one of forty-two states that operate under the Dram Shop Law. The Dram Shop Law addresses liability for injury or damage resulting from intoxication. The law relieves sellers of alcohol from liability so long as they are not selling to someone under the legal drinking age ( a minor) or serving an individual who is habitually addicted to alcohol(a known drunkard). The standard for determining whether an individual is habitually addicted to alcohol is set at an extremely high bar. Florida courts have defined the habitual addicts as “someone whose habit of indulgence in strong drink is so fixed that he cannot resist getting drunk anytime the temptation is offered, with the inebriety frequent, excessive, and the dominant passion.’’
Immesberger’s suit alleges he did fall under the standard of an individual who was habitually addicted to alcohol, yet, despite this distinction, continued to be served alcohol for three consecutive hours at The Woods, prior to driving home that fatal evening. If this is determined to be true, Immesberger may have a claim against the restaurant, but both Woods and Herman will likely be absolved from personal liability. Individuals cannot be held liable for the acts of a corporation because they are employees or shareholders. Those individuals must have physically been there and committed the act in order to be held liable. Both Woods and Herman were determined to not be at the restaurant the day of the accident.