The Sammy's Case: 2006 Jury Verdict of $2.8 Million for Dram Shop Lawsuit
The Mobile liquor liability attorneys at Tobias, McCormick & Comer are experienced in handling cases where persons were injured by persons who were intoxicated as a result of the unlawful service of alcohol. Firm partner, Desi Tobias, has obtained a $2.8 million dollar verdict on behalf of a mother whose child was killed by a drunk driver. This is referred to as "The Sammy's Case," a 2006 Dram Shop lawsuit against the former Sammy's Strip Club in Mobile, Alabama.
Call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Tobias, McCormick and Comer for a free consultation if you have been involved in an alcohol-related accident. 251-432-5001.
Hi, I'm Desi Tobias with the law firm of Tobias, McCormick and Comer in Mobile. I'm here today to talk about dram shop laws and litigation and in particular the case that my law firm tried back 2006 in which we call the Sammy’s Case. At that time, I was a partner with Mike Windham who is now a circuit judge here in Mobile County.
On the night of November 23, 2003, sixteen-year-old Sean Stokley had worked at his job at a Wendy's fast-food place. He later went to Old Dutch where he had ice cream here in Mobile with several of his friends, and then he went to watch a movie with his grandmother. At about 1:35 am that morning he was driving home on Schillinger Road to where he lived with his mother. At the same time, driving in the same direction on Schillinger Road was a firebird driven by Charles Holland. The firebird was going so fast that it struck the rear of Sean Stokley's vehicle and it knocked it 400 feet off the roadway and into a fence, killing Sean instantly.
Sean had an autopsy done that showed that he had no blood alcohol in his system. There was no alcohol, no drugs. But there was a blood test taken of Mr. Holland that showed that five hours later his blood alcohol content was .166. We did an investigation and we found that Mr. Holland had been at the Sammy’s Strip Club on Airport Boulevard prior to the accident. The evidence showed and we obtained a videotape that Mr. Holland entered Sammy’s at 12:03 am. Prior to that he had been watching the Iron Bowl and admitted in his deposition testimony that he drank at least a 12-pack while watching the football game, and he ran out of beer and decided he had a free pass to go to Sammy’s, so he went. It was on his way home from the Sammy’s establishment that he had this accident. The videotape showed that Mr. Holland drank at least two beers, was served at least two beers while in Sammy’s.
We filed a dram shop action on behalf of Sean's mother and the estate of Sean, against Sammy’s. It was our contention that the service of the two beers to Mr. Holland contributed to the unique state of intoxication that caused this terrible accident. It was also our contention that the service of the alcohol to Mr. Holland while he was visibly intoxicated, under the totality of the circumstances, violated certain ABC regulations, which prohibit the service of alcohol to intoxicated persons. The dram shop law in Alabama allows a civil action to be brought and civil liability to be brought against anyone who serves alcohol in violation of the law, and that was our contention in this case about the service to Mr. Holland.
On the other hand, Sammy’s never made anything in terms of an offer of settlement in the case. They tried the case. It was their contention that the two beers that they served him did not intoxicate him, that wasn't what did it, was their contention. They also contended that based on the way the videotape looked that Mr. Holland was not visibly intoxicated when served.
We tried the case over three days in Mobile County in front of a jury and it attracted intense public interest. We had never contacted the Press, but the newspaper was there throughout the entire trial and reported on it every day in the paper. I’m glad to say that after hearing all the evidence that the jury gave a $2.8-million-dollar verdict on behalf of Sean. The case was later resolved prior to an appeal. I subsequently wrote articles about Dram Shop Litigation, Dram Shop Laws in some of the articles I mentioned that the totality of circumstances test should be considered in regard to liability in these cases.
At Tobias, McCormick and Comer we know a lot about the Dram Shop Law in Alabama. Please contact us if you or someone else you know has been injured as a result of an intoxicated driver. Thank you.