$105 million against stadium beer vendor

Servers at Giants Stadium in northern New Jersey sold beer to a highly intoxicated patron, so a jury has ordered Aramark, the beer concessionaire, to pay $30 million in compensatory and $75 million in punitive damages to pay for the later acts of the drunkard, who after leaving the game drove off into a catastrophic accident. (Ana M. Alaya, “Jury adds $75 million penalty for beer seller”, Newark Star-Ledger, Jan. 20; David Voreacos, “Aramark loses big in lawsuit”, Bloomberg/Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 20). The plaintiff’s lawyer in the case (see Oct. 10, 2003) had asked for damages against the National Football League and the Giants as well, but according to KipEsquire (Jan. 20) those claims were dismissed, or else the award might have been really big. Correction: the jury’s compensatory verdict was split $30 million against Aramark and $30 million against the drunk driver; we originally reported that the entire award was against Aramark, but have fixed the references above.

More: New Jersey Law Journal, Jan. 21, reports that the NFL and Giants paid an undisclosed settlement to be let out of the case, though they also prevailed on a summary judgment motion; and it turns out that Daniel Lanzaro of Cresskill, N.J., the drunk driver, drank at a club with friends after leaving the stadium but before getting into the crash. Yet more: AP adds that “The NFL forbids beer sales after the third quarter, and the Giants close beer concessions at the start of the third quarter. The stadium also mandates that fans can buy only two beers at a time, but the Vernis’ lawyers contend that Lanzaro sidestepped that rule by giving the vendor a $10 tip and was allowed to buy six beers.” And according to the New York Post, “Giants Stadium officials intend to aggressively monitor tailgating and drinking” (emphasis added) in the aftermath of the verdict. Update: Feb. 2.


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