Bar Found Not Liable for Negligence after Customer Leaves and Strikes Another Patron with Vehicle

Earlier this month, the Nebraska Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of Pittman v. Rivera, holding that a bar owner was not liable under a theory of negligence when one of the bar’s patrons struck another customer after being kicked out for being aggressive. The court based its decision on a lack of foreseeability at the time the bar’s management kicked out the at-fault patron.

Pouring a BeerPittman v. Rivera

Pittman was struck by Rivera’s vehicle after Rivera was kicked out of the defendant’s bar for being aggressive toward his girlfriend, an employee at the bar. Initially, Rivera left the bar without incident, but then he returned a few hours later and tried to get back into the bar. The bar’s bouncer didn’t allow Rivera back in, and Rivera got back into his car.

Rivera, upset that he was not allowed back in the bar, began driving his car in a fast and reckless manner around the bar, making U-turns and revving his engine loudly. While Rivera was engaging in this reckless behavior, Pittman was outside the bar talking with friends. Unfortunately, Pittman was struck by Rivera’s vehicle and suffered serious injuries as a result. Pittman then filed a negligence lawsuit against Rivera as well as the owners of the bar.

Specific to the case against the owners of the bar, Pittman claimed that they were negligent in kicking Rivera out, knowing that he was likely intoxicated and acting in an aggressive manner. However, the court determined that the bar owners could not be held liable under a negligence theory. The court explained that one of the required elements in a negligence lawsuit is “foreseeability,” and this element was not met in this case. Specifically, the court explained that there was nothing indicating to the bar’s management that this type of accident was likely to occur at the time Rivera was kicked out.

What Wasn’t Argued in the Case and Why It May Have Turned Out Differently in Indiana

Importantly, Nebraska does not have a Dram Shop Law, and this case was not filed under this theory of recovery. A Dram Shop Law is a very specific law that allows those injured by the drunken acts of an individual to seek compensation from the establishment that over-served that individual. However, Indiana does have a Dram Shop Law, and if Pittman were able to show that Rivera was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and that he became intoxicated at the defendant’s bar, he might have had a viable Dram Shop claim in an Indiana court.

Have You Been Injured by a Drunk Driver?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Importantly, there may be more than one source to compensate you, including the at-fault party, their insurance company, and the establishment that served the at-fault party alcohol. It is most likely that each of these parties will likely have their own representation and will contest your claims. You should ensure that you have dedicated legal representation as well. Call 888-765-7411 to set up a free consultation with a dedicated Indiana personal injury attorney today.

Related Posts:

Appellate Court Determines When Evidence of a Party’s Lack of Insurance is Admissible at Trial, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, May 2, 2016

Girl Struck by Car While Boarding School Bus Seeks Recovery from Bus Driver’s Insurance Company, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, June 3, 2016