Davies Brings Suit

It has been a while since we have had to put our lawyer hat on to look at an issue facing American soccer.  However, the news just broke that DC United forward Charlie Davies has filed a $20 million lawsuit against various parties stemming from his car accident in 2009.  The defendants in the suit include the bar that hosted the event where he spent his night and Red Bull North America, an event sponsor.   As part of the lawsuit, Davies alleges that the accident negatively impacted his soccer career on both the national team and club level.  According to the Washington Post, “the lawsuit claims Red Bull hosted the event at Shadow Room and ”had a duty to be aware of the provisions” in the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Act that prohibits the “sale or delivery of alcoholic beverages to … an intoxicated person or any person who appears to be intoxicated.”

Many states have “dram shop acts” that allow victims injured by drunk persons to bring claims against the owners of bars and other establishments that serve alcohol to an intoxicated person. It is my understanding that DC does not have a traditional statute, however, according to MADD, District of Columbia common law (i.e. decisions by judges rather than statutes) imposes liability on shop owners. If that is correct, it will be interesting to see how Davies’ lawyers attempt to apply the law to Red Bull North America, the company that simply sponsored the event.  The irony of Red Bull and DC being competitors is an odd side issue in what promises to be an interesting case to follow.



7 Responses

  1. I could have sworn that Davies has said in interviews that she didn’t seem that intoxicated. If that is the case then how is it the bartenders/bars/Red Bulls fault?
    Strange timing, too.

  2. I now dislike Davies he made a mistake broke curfew and got in the car with a drunk driver it was his decision that damaged his career and nobody else.

  3. I am sorry he got hurt, but in the end I do not like that he is trying to blame others for the problems he got into.

  4. DC Court of Appeals has held, in Jarrett v. Woodward Bros., Inc., 751 A.2d 972 (2000), that a bar serving a patron who was underage, or intoxicated, violates the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which is part of the DC Code. Consequently, even if the patron contributed to the violation (by requesting beverages), recovery is not precluded because the bar violated a statute.

    I have no opinion on Davies case, and many elements would have to be proven, but the initial claim seems like it would get past the summary judgment stage.

  5. This is why its so expensive to do business in the US. Lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits (I vote democrat mostly, btw). Davies made his own decision to violate curfew and go drinking with friends and knowingly get in a car with a drunk driver. Of course he’s upset but he should be more pissed at himself than anyone. Red Bull as a sponsor being sued is such a farce. Can you imagine how many corporate sponsors will disappear from any event with alcohol (or any liability) following a ruling against Red Bull?

  6. Most lawsuits (civil claims) are business related. If one looks at a graph of GDP from the 50’s through now, it looks a lot like the a graph of the number of cases filed in the courts (as business activity goes up, so do lawsuits). But a case involving a soccer star will get more press than two rich guys arguing over who breached a contract first. I would like to see Davies on the stand though:

    “Mr. Davies, do you consider yourself to be a truthful person?”
    “Yes, I do.”
    “You work for Major League Soccer, as a soccer player for DC United, correct?”
    “As a professional soccer player, you know that you are not supposed to fall to the ground without contact, and then act as if you are fouled, right? This is called diving, and is abhorrent to the game, unless you play in Serie A, correct?”
    “…uh, yes and yes”
    “And weren’t you fined by MLS for ‘intentionally deceiving game officials’”?
    “But you know expect us to believe you’re telling the truth, right?”

  7. Well done Dave, well done.

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