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Estate of DUI Accident Victim Sues Owner of Nationally Recognized Charleston Restaurant

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Last week your Charleston personal injury lawyers read several articles concerning a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a highly publicized fatal auto accident involving an employee of one of, until recent poor reviews, the most celebrated and honored fine eateries in America. The lawsuit is briefly covered below, along with a short description of a fatal work accident in Summerville.

The Neighborhood Dining Group, Inc., the restaurant development and management company that manages and oversees the day-to-day operations of Husk Restaurant, has been served a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate of a man killed in a December 17, 2011 auto accident involving an Assistant Manager from the restaurant. The lawsuit, filed in the Court of Common Pleas for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina, alleges that The Neighborhood Dining Group, Inc., doing business as Husk, was negligent in allowing said Assistant Manager to consume free alcohol in excess on Husk premises after the restaurant was closed, and then drive under the influence. The suit seeks in an amount to be determined by the trier of fact or, more commonly, to be determined by a jury.

The fatal car accident occurred in the wee hours of the morning on December 17, 2011, around 4:00 a.m. as the Assistant Manager was attempting to go to Mt. Pleasant. While traveling north on the Arthur Ravenel Bridge the Assistant Manager Audi slammed into the rear of a Mustang driven by a 32-year-old man, also of Mt. Pleasant. The crash caused both vehicles to careen out of control, sending the Mustang into a concrete barrier. The Mustang then burst into flames with the driver trapped inside with, according to the lawsuit, “multiple body traumas,” which led to his “excruciating” and unfortunate death.

The Assistant Manager faces a charge of felony driving under the influence (DUI). It was alleged that his blood-alcohol content was .242 at the time of his arrest, a hair higher than three times the legal limit in South Carolina. As mentioned in previous posts, under the South Carolina Code of Laws, a person convicted of felony DUI when death results must be punished by a mandatory fine of no less than $10, 100 nor more than $25, 100. And must be punished by mandatory imprisonment of no less than one year nor more than 25 years. Additionally, the sentences imposed upon a person convicted of felony DUI cannot be suspended, and probation cannot be granted for any portion.

Beyond the obvious issue the wrongful death suit reflects (drunk driving), the complaint also raises questions about the employee culture in restaurants and the practice of allowing employees to remain after hours to socialize and drink with co-workers, often for free. It will be interesting to see if other area restaurants put an end to this practice, if they haven’t already.

Related only in that its tragic incident and untimely death, the Post and Courier reported on a fatal job accident that occurred Tuesday at an asphalt plant in Summerville. The 48-year-old man, of Moncks Corner, died at a hospital after he became caught in cement auger while doing routine maintenance on the machine. The Berkeley County Coroner said that man died from traumatic injuries and ruled the death as an accident.

It just came to the attention of your Charleston, SC lawyers that the South Carolina State House of Representatives approved a bill (measure 93-15) banning drivers from texting or reading electronic messages on state roadways. However, the bill exempts messages sent through voice-operated devices. Before heading to the Senate measure 93-15 faces another perfunctory vote in the House. It’s good to see South Carolina taking legislative steps to promote safe driving practices. Who knows, the next move may be to require motorcyclist wear helmets, but we’re certainly not holding our breath at Howell and Christmas, LLC.

Posted In: auto accident