BY MARC MOSS
An appellate court in Brooklyn has allowed a lawsuit to proceed brought by Alysoun Sherwood against the Fireside Steak Pub, claiming that the bar served a visibly intoxicated person who later struck her vehicle.
Sherwood sustained serious injuries on February 22, 2013, when her vehicle was struck by Michael Coyle, the driver of a vehicle that crossed a double yellow line on Route 9W and struck her vehicle. Police immediately arrested Coyle and discovered he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit.
In her lawsuit, Sherwood claimed that Fireside Steak Pub in Stony Point was liable for her injuries since Coyle spent most of the day drinking at the bar and staff continued to serve him despite being visibly intoxicated. Under New York law, any person injured by an intoxicated person has a claim against anyone who sells, procures or contributed to a person’s intoxication. This law is commonly referred to as the Dram Shop Law. Coyle eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular assault and is currently serving a 3 1/3 – 10 year prison sentence.
Fireside sought to dismiss Sherwood’s claims by submitting testimony from its bartender that Coyle was not visibly intoxicated. The bartender claimed he only served Coyle two beers. However, Sherwood submitted the transcript of Coyle’s plea where he admitted he drank at least 13 beers and seven shots of whiskey at the Fireside.
Additionally, Sherwood submitted a statement from the arresting police officer that stated Coyle exhibited signs of intoxication, had glassy eyes, impaired speech and poor motor coordination. The appeals court ruled that there were issues of fact that required a trial on Sherwood’s claims. The court ruled that Judge Gerald Loehr of the Rockland Supreme Court properly denied Fireside’s motion to dismiss Sherwood’s claims.
The case’s next hearing is scheduled for November 16, 2016 at which time a trial date will likely be set.
Sherwood is the daughter of former New York State Supreme Court Judge and Stony Point Supervisor William Sherwood (R) and his wife Susan Sherwood, the current Rockland County commissioner of Human Rights. Coincidentally, one of then-Supervisor William Sherwood’s running mates in the 2011 electoral cycle was Karl Javenes, brother of Fireside’s owner Tom Javenes.