A St Louis police officer and the bar that served her alcohol have agreed to pay a total of $2.255 million — the limit of their insurance policies — to compensate the families of four young people killed and one man injured in a traffic crash in Des Peres last year.
A wrongful-death lawsuit, brought by the survivor and the dead victims’ families, claimed that Officer Christine L. Miller, who was off duty, drank “a high quantity” of alcohol that night at O’Leary’s Restaurant & Bar, and then drove her car into oncoming traffic.
Miller is awaiting trial on manslaughter charges.
The suit accused Miller, 42, of negligence based on allegations of driving drunk and driving on the wrong side of the road, among other things. Police said Miller’s blood-alcohol content was 0.169 percent three hours after the crash. The threshold for drunk driving is 0.08 percent.
The parents also sued the restaurant because its “employees knew Miller was intoxicated” and did not stop her from driving or call her a cab, according to the lawsuit.
The suit claims bar workers served Miller alcohol despite her slurred speech and unsteady gait.
O’Leary’s agreed to pay a total of $2 million — from which the parents will collect an immediate payment of $100,000 and $186,375 in a structured settlement for each child.
Plaintiffs would have risked getting nothing if they took the case to trial under the “dram shop law.” Under that law, a bar or restaurant can be held liable for injury or death caused later by an inebriated patron.
Dram shop suits carried the highest burden of proof for the plaintiffs of any civil action. They must provide “clear and convincing” evidence that an intoxicated customer was served, while most civil cases require proof that is “more likely than not,” he said.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys would try to go beyond the blood-alcohol level to show jurors that Miller appeared obviously drunk in her actions.
If you or a family member has been injured because of the fault of someone else; by negligence, personal injury, slip and fall, car accident, medical malpractice, trucking accident, drunk driving, dangerous and defective drugs, bad product, toxic injury etc then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Car Accident Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 214-390-3189 or Contact Me Online.