A Chinese restaurant's owner is facing up to $8,000 in fines and a total prison sentence of four years for serving three men too much to drink.
All three men died in a fatal crash as they tried to drive home after they each drank three of the restaurant's signature drinks, a "Zombie." Three of those drinks would contain 12-ounces of hard liquor --- all of which were consumed in a relatively short time.
In addition to the criminal charges for the owner, the restaurant may be fined as much as $5,000. It's license to serve liquor may also be suspended or outright revoked. The restaurant is also being charged as a business entity for the crime of making prohibited sales -- too much alcohol, too quickly -- for which it can be fined an additional $16,000 total.
Any restaurant or bar that serves an obviously intoxicated guest -- or serves a guest enough drinks in one setting that the server should realize that the guest is unlikely to be anywhere close to sober -- can be held liable for the injuries caused by the guest if he or she gets behind the wheel of a car. That includes the death of that patron in a wrongful death lawsuit, should his or her surviving relatives press a claim in civil court. Wrongful death results when someone dies as a result of the negligent or willful actions of another.
This certainly wasn't the first time the New Hampshire business has faced problems with this particular issue. The restaurant has a history of violating the state's liquor laws going all the way back to 2012, including failing to check for identification and serving liquor to minors. As a business, it would also certainly know that it bore the responsibility to cut off the alcohol to any patron that was clearly drinking too much.
If someone you love was killed in a fatal car accident that could have been easily prevented with a little more care, talk to an attorney about the possibility of a wrongful death claim to see if either you or the victim's estate can qualify to file.
Source: Seacoastonline.com, "Jade Palace owner faces jail, fines if convicted," Hadley Barndollar, Aug. 31, 2017