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Designated Driver (but not his Friends) Held Liable for Damages


James May, Jr. Of Melville, New York and his friend, Michael Hoenig, had gone to the Nutty Irishman Bar in Farmingdale with their friend Michael Rahner. Michael was the designated driver for the group.

During the course of the evening, James May, Jr. and Michael Hoenig brought their friend Michael Rahner a series of drinks. The boys were out drinking on December 2, 2007. On the way home from the bar, there was a car accident and a passenger by the name of Ryan Luciere was injured.

New York has a Dram Shop Law. This law makes bars financially responsible if a patron of theirs’ is served alcoholic beverages while intoxicated.

Ryan Luciere of Plainview sued the Nutty Irishman Bar for serving alcohol and beverages to Michael Rahner while he was intoxicated. The attorney for The Nutty Irishman then sued Michael’s friends, Michael Hoenig and James May, Jr., claiming that when they bought drinks for Rahner, they were in violation of their oral agreement as to who would be the designated driver. The Nutty Irishman sued these two men to reduce their financial exposure in the case.

Judge Randy Sue Marber rendered a decision on September 29, 2010, that stated that although the two friends may have had a moral obligation to avoid buying drinks for the designated driver, this created no legal responsibility for them. She dismissed the lawsuit brought by The Nutty Irishman against theses two men. It should be noted that Michael Rahner was charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) after the crash. Upon his trial on this criminal charge, he was acquitted.

About Our Firm

We have extensive experience in representing our clients on misdemeanor and felony charges.

Our office represents individuals charged with driving while intoxicated. We also assist individuals who are injured in car accidents, wrongful death cases and who are injured as a result of a slip and fall.

If you have questions on these issues, feel free to contact us for a free consultations at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

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