Charlie Davies, the star striker for soccer team DC United,  filed a lawsuit against the bar that served the woman who was the driver in the 2009 one-car accident that left him with a ruptured bladder, multiple fractures and head trauma.  The lawsuit was filed against Das Enterprises, the company which owns the DC bar Shadow Room, where an event was being hosted by Red Bull North America (also named in the suit).

The accident additionally killed the other passenger, Ashley Roberta of Phoenix, Md.  The driver of the vehicle was Maria Alejandra Espinoza, who Davies claims was served alcohol after she was already "visibly intoxicated."  (Espinoza was previously sentenced to two years in jail for involuntary manslaughter and maiming while intoxicated.)

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals, in 1987, held that a violation of the alcoholic beverage control act, which prohibits serving a person already intoxicated or apparently intoxicated, renders the bar negligent per se in a situation like this.  This makes is relatively easy to sue a bar in the District if they have been serving customers who are identified as being noticeably drunk.

Even though the accident occurred in Virginia and Virginia outlaws such suits, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals also held that the claim can proceed in DC.  The DC law is a wise one, since it promotes safety and bars should not be immune from liability over serving a drunk.

In a Virginia case called Williamson v. The Old Brogue, Inc., the Supreme Court of Virginia held that it is the drunk driver and not the bar who served the alcohol which is the approximate cause of any accident (the exact opposite view of the District Courts).  Basically, the Charlie Davies lawsuit would never succeed in the state of Virginia.

Davies filed to receive $20 million in recovery from Das Enterprises and Red Bull North America due to the negligent actions that derailed his promising career.  If you might recall, Davies was a regular on the US national team, but was unable to compete in the 2010 World Cup and was not called up by the team since the accident.  Additionally, Davies was on the path to receive a large contract from a European squad, potentially the French club, Sochaux, for which he was playing.

Davis also incurred a lot of medical expenses that will continue as he deals with scar tissue and permanent disfigurement. 

If you are the victim of an accident, you can download a copy of my FREE book, Five Deadly Sins That Can Wreck Your Injury Claim.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney