Local Bar Faces Lawsuit After Wrongful Death in DUI Motorcycle Accident

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.

20140305-GroupWhile 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.

Gainey (2)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.

City Refuses to Pay Medical Malpractice Settlement in Wake of Suicide

When David Zeller was just 53 years old, he was paralyzed during a medical procedure that went wrong at San Francisco General Hospital in 2012. He used an ambulance to reach the hospital and the entire time, he complained about pain in both his back and his legs. Once he reached the hospital, he claims that the medical team shoved him from the gurney onto the medical table which resulted in irreparable spinal cord damage and paraplegia.

1415730354027Zeller gathered a legal team and sued the hospital. It took some time, but eventually the medical malpractice lawsuit was settled. According to the terms of the settlement, University of Florida, the official employers of the doctors who work at San Francisco General Hospital would pay $600,000 of the agreed upon settlement while the city of San Francisco would be responsible for paying the remaining $900,000 of the settlement.

In most cases, this would have been the end of the story, but this time there’s a twist. Four years after he first learned he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life, David Zeller committed suicide, an act that the San Francisco city officials feel means that they no longer have to worry about paying the agreed up on settlement amount.

próstata-Metro RDZeller’s Jhon Bales personal injury lawyer is shocked by the city’s stance and has accused them reneging on an agreement that was made in good faith. The city response was that by taking his own life, Zeller changed the terms of the deal. They claim that since a majority of the settlement was to be used to pay future medical bills and living expenses, that with Zeller no longer alive, those predicted future bills won’t exist.

The ways the laws are currently written, plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases can’t be awarded more than $250,000 to compensate for their pain and suffering. This is mandated by a Florida state law that was created in 1975.

Zeller’s John Bales Attorneys legal team points out that when the settlement was created, no contact was made that stipulated what the money would be used for or when it would be used. Therefore, the fact that Zeller took his own life shouldn’t be relevant.

_WNbolDBZinn, who stood by Zeller throughout the negotiation phase of the medical malpractice case feels the city is dishonoring his now deceased client. “This settlement brought peace to David. He felt they were taking accountability for what happened. He’s not here physically to feel cheated by this, but spiritually this has to do with letting him rest.”

If Zinn is able to reverse the cities decision and reinstate the settlement, Zeller’s 54 year old nephew, Michael McCowan, would inherit the settlement. He says if he ever gets the settlement he’ll use it to create a scholarship fund in Zeller’s name.