Verdicts & Settlements

Parties Settle in Fatal DUI Case

Hennessey v. Pond $2 Million Settlement

The Legal Intelligencer

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Hennessey's father, Joseph Francis Hennessey Jr., sued Pond, Kenny's Bar and CMJ Sheffield, alleging that Pond was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and for driving while intoxicated, and that Kenny's Bar and CMJ Sheffield violated the Dram Shop law.

According to Hennessey's memo, Pond's BAC was 0.212 and she pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and DUI. The memo also said that Pond testified she smoked marijuana before leaving for Kenny's Bar.

Pond also testified that she was not carded when she entered Kenny's Bar and she did not sign a certificate, the memo said. A friend of Pond's testified that he saw her at Kenny's Bar and she appeared drunk, as she had slurred speech and impaired balance, the memo said.

The plaintiff's memo contended that, after leaving Kenny's Bar, Pond drove Caitlin Hennessey and Lees to Paddy Whacks. According to the memo, video footage showed that the three were not carded and that Pond was dancing and consuming alcohol.

The memo said the Paddy Whack's manager admitted the bar had not used its ID scanner on the night in question. The bouncer, the memo said, also admitted that the three were not carded, that he danced with Pond, that he occasionally drank while at work, that he saw patrons drunk at the bar at least once a week, that the bar had no policy for flagging visibly drunk patrons, that he had no training regarding recognizing drunk patrons, that Pond appeared drunk and that he had let underage people into the bar on prior occasions. According to the memo, some staff, including waitress bartenders, knew Pond.

The plaintiff's toxicology expert, G. John DiGregorio, opined that Pond would have been exhibiting signs of intoxication, that she was not safe to drive, and that the intoxication would have impaired her driving.

The plaintiff's accident reconstruction expert opined that Pond was going about 85 mph when the vehicle spun sideways and then struck the pole at about 60 mph.

Pond's pretrial memo said the bars were liable for allowing a visibly intoxicated and underage person to consume alcohol in their establishments.

In its pretrial memorandum, Kenny's Bar contended that Pond had not consumed alcohol on its premises, that she was not visibly intoxicated while there and that the plaintiff was comparatively liable for allowing an intoxicated, underage person to drive.

Kenny's Bar also contended in its memo that it cards everyone at the door at night, and that it carded Hennessey. The bar noted that Pond's friend testified that he had been carded and that data from the card scanner showed Hennessey's ID information. The bar also contended that police found the driver's license of a 22-year-old woman who resembled Pond in Pond's car following the accident.

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