Widow of Victim of Drunk Driver Suing Night Club Under New York Dram Shop Law

Alcoholic drink being poured.

The surviving family members of William Pena, a New York MTA bus driver killed by a drunk driver in February of 2014, recently filed a civil lawsuit against 10AK, the club where the driver that killed Pena had been drinking that evening. The drunk driver, then-22-year-old Domonic Whilby, had been attending a fashion industry party at 10AK with his uncle, Tyson Beckford. After leaving the party, Whilby found a delivery truck with keys in the ignition and took off in that vehicle, eventually crashing into a City bus. Pena, the driver of the bus which was hit, was thrown from the bus and killed immediately. At the time of his arrest following the crash, Whilby was found to have a blood alcohol level that was twice the legal limit. In an uncommon turn of events, Whilby has been charged with second degree murder and is slated to go on trial this spring.

Dram Shop Laws Can Allow Additional Recovery for Devastated Widow and Daughter

Pena’s long-time partner, Nancy Rodriguez, and 18-year-old daughter Gabrielle, are suing 10AK under New York State’s Dram Shop Law. This law assigns strict civil liability for damage done by an intoxicated individual to establishments serving alcohol to certain classes of persons: those under 21 years of age; and those who are already clearly intoxicated. Typically, such cases center on proving that the intoxicated individual was exhibiting visual signs of intoxication at the time the establishment sold the alcohol. Previous Dram Shop Law trials have found that individual pieces of circumstantial evidence of intoxication, such as the number of drinks the individual consumed or his or her blood alcohol level, are insufficient to result in a finding of liability.

In addition to the nightclub, the lawsuit filed by Pena’s family also names several other defendants who may also be liable: the trucking company, for negligently leaving the keys in the unattended truck’s ignition; the hotel to whom the driver had been making a delivery, for negligently leaving the loading dock unsecure; and the granola company that had hired the trucking company to deliver its goods.

Ensure you are compensated for your injuries incurred by a reckless drunk driver

New York Dram Shop Laws can provide you or a loved one a way to be made whole for injuries caused by a reckless drunk driver. Make sure that you receive compensation from all parties responsible for your or a family member’s devastating injuries or death. If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver, contact Kingston personal injury attorneys at Basch & Keegan. Basch & Keegan’s experienced attorneys, serving Ulster, Orange, and Dutchess County residents, can help you recover for your car accident and drunk driving injuries. Call (845) 338-8884 for a free consultation.