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Giantone 08-03-2006 08:28 PM

This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
It's everywhere,it's why I don't drink at games .The drunks wreck it for everyone.


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[/SIZE][B]Beer vendor verdict overturned [/B]

Thursday, August 3, 2006

By KIBRET MARKOS
STAFF WRITER

A state appeals court on Thursday tossed out a record $109 million award to a quadriplegic Cliffside Park girl and her mother who were severely injured in a crash caused by a drunken New York Giants fan more than six years ago.

The ruling means a new trial in the case of 9-year-old Antonia Verni, who was paralyzed from the neck down when drunken driver Daniel Lanzaro slammed his truck into her family’s car in Hasbrouck Heights.

Verni’s family sued Aramark Corp., which runs the beer concessions at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, where Lanzaro had downed more beers than he could remember.

After a month-long trial last year, a jury in Superior Court in Hackensack found that Aramark promoted a “culture of intoxication” at the stadium and carelessly sold beer to a visibly drunk Lanzaro. The jurors then granted the Verni’s the largest dram-shop liability award in the nation’s history.

A three-judge appellate panel, however, reversed the verdict Thursday, ruling that the trial was marred by numerous errors and lacked “true adversity that is an underpinning of our judicial system.”

The panel agreed with Aramark's attorneys that the evidence presented to prove a “culture of intoxication” at Giants Stadium – including wrongful hiring, insufficient training and supervision of alcohol-vending staff – should not have been admitted at trial.

The central issue during the trial was whether alcohol was negligently sold to a visibly drunk Lanzaro. The judges wrote that the evidence relating to the “culture of intoxication” was marginally relevant at best, while causing undue prejudice against Aramark.

Company attorneys on Thursday referred all questions to a spokeswoman, who issued a brief statement.

“While we are saddened by the injuries suffered by Antonia Verni, we are gratified by today’s court decision,” said Kristine Grow, the spokeswoman.

The Vernis’ attorney, David Mazie, stressed that Thursday’s ruling was not premised on the size of the award, but rather on “hyper-technical legal issues” surrounding the trial. He also vowed to take the case to the state Supreme Court.

“This is not the end of anything,” he said. “We will continue to fight on behalf of Antonia and her mother.”

Lanzaro, a 35-year-old Cresskill carpenter and a father of two, testified during the trial that he began drinking at a tailgate party at a Giants game on Oct. 24, 1999. He said he later went to two strip clubs with his friend, Michael Holder, and was “beyond drunk” when he smashed his pickup truck head-on into the Vernis’ car.

Antonia, 2 years old at the time, stopped breathing twice as paramedics tried to resuscitate her. The girl’s mother, Fazila Baksh Verni, was hospitalized for two months with multiple fractures and became partially blind.

Antonia’s father, Ronald, escaped with minor injuries, as did Lanzaro, whose blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident was more than twice the then-legal limit. He pleaded guilty to vehicular assault and is now serving a five-year prison term.

The Vernis originally sued several persons and entities, including Holder, Giants Stadium, the National Football League, the New York Giants and the two go-go bars where Lanzaro went after leaving the stadium.

The Vernis later settled the claim against those defendants for a total of about $1 million. Aramark went to trial and was found liable for 50 percent of the damages. Lanzaro was liable for the other half.

In Thursday’s decision, however, the appeals panel agreed with Aramark attorneys that the jury should have considered the percentage of liability of the other defendants – which could have lowered Aramark’s share of liability.

The trial in Hackensack involved extensive evidence on how alcohol was served at the stadium. Mazie argued that Aramark violated its own policy of not selling more than two beers at a time to patrons, and presented witnesses who testified that they never saw anyone – drunk or not – being refused drinks at the stadium.

Aramark attorneys argued that its managers, vendors and alcohol-compliance officers were well-trained in identifying drunken patrons but were fooled by Lanzaro, a seasoned drinker who showed no signs of intoxication.

724Skinsfan 08-03-2006 08:34 PM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
Pathetic. I've got nothing against getting ripped at a sporting event (as I have many an occasion) but have someone take care of you. Not for you, but for the innocent people that you may hurt.

3rd ID SOLDIER 08-03-2006 08:49 PM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
it was probably shockey and plaxico burress that were drunk in the car that did that!

Pocket$ $traight 08-03-2006 09:04 PM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
[quote=3rd ID SOLDIER]it was probably shockey and plaxico burress that were drunk in the car that did that![/quote]

I don't think the girl's family would find the joke amusing but I do disagree with our culture's tendency to sue anybody and everybody and to dish out idiotic amounts for damages. 109 million? That is almost as stupid as the 300 million initially given to the smoker.

What is next Dallas suing the Redskins for that violation in FedEx?

LBrown43 08-03-2006 10:29 PM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
I followed the trial and was amazed at the inital ruling. Anyone who has been to a game knows it is very difficult to afford the amount of beers that it would take to get you 2x the legal limit. The guy also went other places after the game so the beer he might have had was well added to by the time the accident happened. Plus you know and I know he was probably tailgating for hours before so the few beers he probably had in the stadium really did little to get him any drunker. Plus, I have seen them turn people away at Giants stadium, happens all the time...as it should. It is unfortunate the little girl was hurt so badly, but ultimate responsibility rests with the guy and his friends who did not keep him from getting behind the wheel.

dmek25 08-03-2006 10:45 PM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
you guys are pathetic. if a vendor or beer stand sold him beer , like i used to see all the time at the vet, while visibly drunk, why shouldnt they be responsible? here a little girls life, along with her families, is basically ruined. as far as im concerned, all parties involved should pay. is 109 million enough if it would be your little girl?

jamf 08-03-2006 10:53 PM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
what happened to the drunk driver? I hope he spends decades in prison.

jamf 08-03-2006 10:58 PM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
[QUOTE=dmek25]you guys are pathetic. if a vendor or beer stand sold him beer , like i used to see all the time at the vet, while visibly drunk, why shouldnt they be responsible? here a little girls life, along with her families, is basically ruined. as far as im concerned, all parties involved should pay. is 109 million enough if it would be your little girl?[/QUOTE]

If there was a law against selling booze to drunks, Half of the people on the warpath would still be virgins... :(

I would like to see more control on the amount of alcohol sold, but in reality there is no way to control when and where people drink.

hooskins 08-04-2006 12:04 AM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
[quote=dmek25]you guys are pathetic. if a vendor or beer stand sold him beer , like i used to see all the time at the vet, while visibly drunk, why shouldnt they be responsible? here a little girls life, along with her families, is basically ruined. as far as im concerned, all parties involved should pay. is 109 million enough if it would be your little girl?[/quote]

No way, I believe that if someone is obviously drunk then they shouldnt get served, but that is it. It is not the companies fault, personal responsibility here, seriously. If you get drunk, its YOUR fault, not the beer seller. I am sick of people blaming their probs on other ppl.

Schneed10 08-04-2006 12:10 AM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
[quote=dmek25]you guys are pathetic. if a vendor or beer stand sold him beer , like i used to see all the time at the vet, while visibly drunk, why shouldnt they be responsible? here a little girls life, along with her families, is basically ruined. as far as im concerned, all parties involved should pay. is 109 million enough if it would be your little girl?[/quote]

I can't effing stand this argument. Since when can a dollar value be put on someone's life? Why do we insist on assigning a dollar value to it? First off, punitive damages like that are ineffective. The only people that care if Aramark loses 109 million are the shareholders, and the CFO and CEO of Aramark. And they won't make any sweeping changes as a result of the punitive damage ruling, they already have mechanisms in place not to sell to visibly drunk people. It's stupid to ask Aramark to pay $109 million. The primary responsibility rests with the guy who got behind the wheel.

The only reason Aramark was named in the case was because this family was out for jackpot justice, and when they realized that they could only milk a couple thousand out of the drunk driver, they went after whoever had money. And that was Aramark.

What, paying $109 million is supposed to make anybody any less hurt or any less dead? It's retarded. It accomplishes nothing, other than get the family rich off their daughter's misfortune.

Schneed10 08-04-2006 12:12 AM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
The drunk driver should spend years and years in prison. But Aramark has NO RESPONSIBILITY AT ALL in my opinion.

hooskins 08-04-2006 12:31 AM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
[quote=Schneed10]I can't effing stand this argument. Since when can a dollar value be put on someone's life? Why do we insist on assigning a dollar value to it? First off, punitive damages like that are ineffective. The only people that care if Aramark loses 109 million are the shareholders, and the CFO and CEO of Aramark. And they won't make any sweeping changes as a result of the punitive damage ruling, they already have mechanisms in place not to sell to visibly drunk people. It's stupid to ask Aramark to pay $109 million. The primary responsibility rests with the guy who got behind the wheel.

The only reason Aramark was named in the case was because this family was out for jackpot justice, and when they realized that they could only milk a couple thousand out of the drunk driver, they went after whoever had money. And that was Aramark.

What, paying $109 million is supposed to make anybody any less hurt or any less dead? It's retarded. It accomplishes nothing, other than get the family rich off their daughter's misfortune.[/quote]

Exactly, I agree with you 100%. The company has no involvement, and the only thing to get out of the company is money. Like I said before, people have to make their own choices, and face the results of that choice, and not blame it on other people.

BigSKINBauer 08-04-2006 12:39 AM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
The person is responsible to know when to stop and whether or not to drive. Whats next, sue the police deptarment for not catching the guy before he killed someone? Could say they weren't trained enough to spot him, weren't enough cops on the road, and didn't care enough.

SmootSmack 08-04-2006 12:41 AM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
It's a very tragic story. But where does it end really? I mean I've heard of similar cases where the car company is sued, the construction company that built the road is sued, the city is sued, and so on.

Monk-Fan 08-04-2006 02:37 AM

Re: This is at Every Game ,with every Team !
 
When you go to a game you usually have a ticket stub right? So the venders could put in a system that rations a certain amount of beers to each ticket, each time you buy a beer your ticket will be scanned and it will mark how many beers you have bought on that ticket. I know that there are ways around that but its an idea to help curb excess drinking, realistically it would be impossible to stop people from drinking and driving. It is so sad that the little girl now has to live a life in a wheel chair, very very sad.


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