Drunk driving, liquor liability lawsuit moves forward

Berman & Simmons attorneys continue to take sworn depositions from witnesses in the lawsuit against a drunk driver from Harpswell, Maine, who crashed into a lobsterman on his way home from work in January 2015.

Berman & Simmons represents Samuel Desjardins in the case against Cynthia Moody, Cumberland Farms, Raven’s Roost, and Winner’s Sports Grill.

The lawsuit seeks damages against Moody for driving drunk and causing the crash. It also seeks damages against the businesses for selling alcohol to a person who was already visibly intoxicated. This is illegal conduct under the Maine Liquor Liability Act. The lawsuit was filed in March at Cumberland County Superior Court.

Staff writer Beth Brogan of the Bangor Daily News wrote about the crash when it happened, and has been following the criminal and civil cases. She published an update about the case in the BDN on Sept. 13, “Who should pay when a drunken driver injures someone so badly he can no longer work?

Here’s a statement from our attorneys regarding the status of the case:

“This is a case against Cumberland Farms, Raven’s Roost, and Winner’s Sports Grill for violating Maine law by serving alcohol to an already visibly intoxicated person, which resulted in a driver getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit.

At 4 p.m. on January 6, 2015, the visibly intoxicated driver served by the defendants crossed her pickup truck into oncoming traffic on Cundy’s Harbor Road in Harpswell and collided head-on into our client, Sam Desjardins. Sam was returning from work at the wharf and was only a quarter of a mile from his home when he suffered catastrophic injuries that have changed his life forever. Two of Sam’s beloved dogs were also killed in the collision.

This case is now in the discovery phase, where we are aggressively gathering all information about the events leading up to the crash. We have taken depositions of employees of Cumberland Farms and Winner’s Sports Grill, and will be taking additional depositions in the coming weeks. We expect this case to go to trial in mid-2017.

Sam continues to struggle with the pain and limitations caused by his severe permanent injuries, which have required multiple surgeries and will require more in the future. He is no longer able to work as a lobsterman, a job he loved and depended on to provide for his family.

Drunk drivers kill and injure hundreds of Maine people every year, which is why the law prohibits businesses from selling alcohol to people when they are already visibly intoxicated. If businesses are not held accountable for these illegal sales of alcohol, then all Maine drivers are in grave danger on our roads, and we can expect more tragedies like the one that nearly cost Sam his life.”