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Jury Renders Defense Verdict in Bar Fight Case: Patron’s Injuries Not Caused by Restaurant’s Service of Alcohol

Jules v. Polny Restaurant Corp. d/b/a Sophie’s and Brandt Collins, Supreme Court, Kings County, No. 32067/07, January 14, 2001

AGF&J member Irwin D. Miller recently obtained a defense verdict in a personal injury action arising out of an altercation between two patrons of a defendant restaurant.

The client ejected the plaintiff from its premises after he and the co-defendant, another patron, had exchanged words. Ten to fifteen minutes later, the co-defendant was also ejected, only to find plaintiff nearby, seeking shelter from a rainstorm. Reunited as if by fate, the two resumed their relationship, more or less from where they had left it. The result for Mr. Jules, unfortunately, was a fractured leg.

At trial the jury found that the restaurant had not violated the Dram Shop Act, and furthermore that the plaintiff’s injuries were not proximately caused by any negligence on the part of the restaurant. The jury found instead that both the co-defendant and the plaintiff were equally liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, which after an inquest were determined to total $556,700—solely against the uninsured co-defendant.