Breaking: $105 million Aramark verdict reversed

The New Jersey court’s opinion yesterday in Verni v. Harry M. Stevens ordered a new trial because of the unfairly prejudicial evidence introduced at trial. (Laura Mansnerus, “Court Overturns Jury Award Against Stadium Concessionaire”, NY Times, Aug. 4; Kibret Markos, “Paralyzed Cliffside girl may have to go through new trial”,, Aug. 4).

Plaintiffs sought to blame a drunk-driving accident several hours after a Giants game on stadium beer vendors, a feat eased when the drunk driver, Daniel Lanzano, settled with plaintiffs and changed his testimony to be consistent with their theory of the case. Lanzano drank at two go-go bars after the game. The court also noted the failure of the jury to be instructed to consider the relative liability of other settling parties that the plaintiffs had sued in a shotgun complaint, including the NFL, the Giants, Toyota, and Michael Holder, who committed the sin of drinking with Lanzano that day. We had provided extensive coverage from the beginnings of the suit: Oct. 10, 2003; Jan. 21, 2005; a must-read Feb. 2, 2005 post; Jun. 6.

Update: another aspect of the appellate court opinion is that it recognized corporate boundaries. The trial court sought to hold Aramark liable for alleged negligence of its subsidiaries.


  • "who committed the sin of drinking with Lanzano that day. &;quot;

    LOVE that sentence. Yes, Jesus!

  • IOW the court decided that it wasn’t the claim that was unjust or the amount but the way it was spread out across the victims of the plaintiffs.

    What the court should have decided is to reverse the decision and have plaintiffs pay that same amount to the people they sued…

  • And they let the cup manufacturer off? None of the defendants facilitated the drinking as directly as the cup manufacturer.

  • I hope the courts will finally use this opportunity to explore the role of Dihydrogen Monoxoide (DHMO) in this case. DHMO is a dangerous* chemical used in the manufacture of alcoholic beverages and is found in the bloodstream of 100% of drunk drivers who were tested.

  • DHMO is not the chemical symbol of Dihydrogen Monoxide. heh