21-year-old James Gainey Jr. decided to plead guilty to charges of bot reckless homicide and DUI in South Carolina. The incident occurred in August when Gainey was just 20 years old when he went on a drinking spree at the Tin Roof bar in Vista. After leaving the bar, he hopped on his motorcycle and picked up 19-year-old Caitlin Clark. While the pair was driving down Saint David’s Church Road they were going much too fast for the road and Gainey lost control of his bike and which skidded off the road before striking a fence. Clark was thrown from the bike during the accident and suffered a massive amount of injuries which resulted in her death.
As a result of his actions, Gainey has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Gainey isn’t the only one dealing with the repercussions of that night. Clark’s father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Tin Roof Acquisition Co. LLC. It’s his belief that if the bar hadn’t served Gainey that night, his daughter would still be alive.
“This is just another terrible tragedy of a person being allowed into a bar and, we believe, being obviously overserved and causing an accident,” Clark’s lawyer explained, Todd Ellis, explained. “Establishments just can’t continue to serve with a blind eye.”
One of the things that separates bars from establishments in other states is that there are no laws in place that require each employ who serves alcohol to be able to identify when someone they are serving shows signs of being intoxicated.
While the employers don’t have to be trained, the South Carolina Supreme Court determined that they can be sued when one of their patrons leaves their establishment and then gets into a wreck that results in a wrongful death. Something many bars, including four in the Midlands, are rapidly beginning to understand.
Another issue that the management of the Tin Roof will have to address is how Gainey was served alcohol despite the fact that he was underage at the time.
Joseph Sandefur, managing partner of a top personal injury firm with an office headquartered in South Carolina, hopes these kind of laws will change how bar owners manage their employees.. “Since state law makers refuse to create the laws that would require establishments that sell liquor to properly train their employees, it’s up to the those like Mr. Clark and others who have experienced tragedy as the result of DUI accidents to file personal injury lawsuit that will hopefully encourage the bar owners to insist on properly training their employees. At that point, it’s likely that will see a decrease in the number of DUI fatalities.”
In addition to filing a lawsuit against the Tin Roof, Clark also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Gainey which was settled before Gainey pled guilty to the charges. Although Gainey’s insurance company protested, they ultimately agreed to pay a $123,614 settlement.
If someone you loved was killed as the result of a DUI accident, visit https://joeandmartin.com and learn what your legal options are.