This paper contains an observation from a competition that was held by Liberty University. In the courtroom Observation four law students argue the case of White vs. O’Malley’s Tavern. The original case (case number 82A04-8876-CB285) has gone before the United States District Court in Northern Indiana. In the case Mrs. White is asking that O’Malley’s Tavern be held liable for her husband’s death, while O’Malley’s Tavern is stating that they should not be held liable for the incident. This paper will discuss the argument for both sides, if summary judgment should be allowed, and how courts are viewed in the Christian Worldview.
In the case of White vs. O’Malley’s Tavern (case number 82A04-8876-CB285)Mrs. White is asking that the bar be held liable for her husband’s death. Mrs. White and her husband were involved in a car crash with someone who had been drinking at O’Malley’s Tavern. Sadly, the crash killed Mrs. White’s husband. What is interesting about this case is that Mrs. White knows the person that had the collision with them that caused her husband’s death. Mr. Hart, the other person involved with the crash, was an ex boyfriend of Mrs. White. The situation began at O’Malley’s Tavern where both Mr.
Hart and Mr. and Mrs. White were at. Mr. Hart was not there with Mr. and Mrs. White and seemed to be disturbed by their presence. In the courtroom observation it was discussed that Mr. Hart was still a bit bitter over the breakup and that this may have fueled his drinking even more. The lawyers for Mrs. White are claiming that the bar should be held responsible for allowing Mr. Hart to get as intoxicated as he was and have the crash in the first place. However, the bartender is claiming that he never seen any signs that Mr. Hart was too drunk. Mrs.
White claimed there was an incident where Mr. Hart was too drunk to walk so he tripped over a pool cue and fell. However, Mrs. White also says that the bartender did not witness this event. She says that by the time the bartender comes back within visual range that Mr. Hart was already seated back on his bar stool. There was one more incident that happened as Mrs. White was leaving. Mr. Hart approached Mrs. White and her husband and started an argument but fell down. Mrs. White says that she feared Mr. Hart would follow them out and cause more problems. This did in fact happen. Mrs.
White made a frantic call to 911 and was noted as saying that Mr. Hart was following and it was obvious she was scared. All of these events lead to the car crash that killed Mrs. White’s husband. After seeing all the facts of the case I asked myself if I felt that O’Malley’s Tavern was liable for what happened. In the facts presented by the four law students there is a lot of talk about the Indiana Dram law. “Under Indiana law, a person who provides an alcoholic beverage to someone who that person knows is intoxicated may be liable for tort damages caused later by that intoxicated person”(Culver vs.
McRoberts, 1999). This Indiana Dram Law states that the person serving or providing the drink is liable only if they provide a drink to someone who they know is already drunk. I did not hear anywhere that the bartender was personally acquainted with Mr. Hart and this means he would have no way of knowing that Mr. Hart was drunk unless he seen him acting in a manner that would suggest how drunk he was. The fact that Mrs. White even states that the bartender did not see when Mr. Hart fell proves to me that the bartender did not realize how drunk Mr.
Hart was. It was also discussed if one would be able to state that a certain amount of drinks would have caused Mr. Hart to be too drunk to continue providing drinks. There are too many factors that come into play when trying to determine how many drinks any particular person can handle. One’s size, metabolism, and even how often they drink would all affect how many drinks would be too many. It was believed that Mr. Hart had about 11 drinks. I am sure the bartender has seen people become too drunk on less and even more drinks than that.
I believe that O’Malley’s Tavern should be granted Summary judgment but to explain why one must first know what summary justice is. “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law” (Cornell University of Law, 2012). I personally feel that the bar and bartender are not liable for what happened. In the above definition of Summary judgment it says the court will grant it if the movant can show that there is no genuine dispute.
I think that no genuine dispute is show because even Mrs. White herself says that the bartender did not see when Mr. Hart fell. Also Mr. Hart was served his last drink before the bartender had even seen the second issue when he fell when trying to confront Mrs. White as she was leaving. I believe if after that issue that Mr. Hart would have sat back down and the bartender would have continued giving him drinks then there would have been a problem. However, it seems that Mr. Hart left right after that to follow Mrs. White. I believe that Summary Judgment would be ok in the Christian worldview
because it allows disputes to be settled outside of court and also does not send a innocent person in for judgment the way that Jesus was. ” You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice” (Exodus 23:2: kjv). I believe that it would be a perversion of justice to force someone to have to be put before a court to be judged when there is no case against them. If they fallowed the law then they should not have to be taken to court. I would like to say something before I close.
I realize Mrs. White was very upset over her husband’s death but she even knew that the bartender did not see Mr. Hart’s drunken behavior. I feel that a suit never should have been brought against the bar but the focus should have been more on the person who caused the crash. I also feel that while the bartender did not do anything legally wrong, he may have made more morally sound choices. When he first seen the incident where Mr. Hart started confronting Mrs. White and her husband he should have picked up a phone and called the police.
Perhaps then the police would have made it there before Mr. Hart had the chance to cause a wreck. Even if the police did not make it in time then the bartender would have made an attempt to stop a possible problem from happening. Cornell University of Law (2012) Rule 56. Summary Judgment. Retrieved on April 22nd 2012, from http://www. law. cornell. edu/rules/frcp/rule_56 Find Law (1999) CULVER v. McROBERTS. Retrieved on April 22nd 2012 from http://caselaw. findlaw. com/us-7th-circuit/1202344. html The Holy Bible: King James Version