Just as Fred Wilpon averted disaster by reaching a favorable settlement with Irving Picard, the trustee seeking to recover funds for victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, the Mets now face another lawsuit, this time by the family of Clara Almazo, who was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver while crossing a Staten Island street with her grandson.
Almazo heroically pushed her grandson to safety, and was knocked approximately 150 feet by an SUV being driven by Brian McGurk. McGurk allegedly fled the scene, but turned himself in five hours later. He reportedly refused an alcohol breath test, but police nevertheless claim he showed no signs of intoxication at that point.
McGurk had been at the Mets home opener, and after taking a bus back from the game, allegedly began drinking at Nurnberger Bierhaus. When he left, his vehicle struck Almazo, at approximately 9:50 p.m. Named in the lawsuit are the bar, Nurnberger Bierhaus, the Mets, Aramark and other related entities. Aramark, no stranger to these "dram shop" lawsuits (see Giants Stadium settlement), is alleged to have served McGurk while he was visibly intoxicated. The contract between Aramark and the Mets, may require Aramark to defend and indemnify the Mets with respect to the allegations in the Complaint.
Unfortunately for Almazo, based upon the facts presently known, it will be difficult to prove liability against the Mets and even Nurnberger Bierhaus, since there was no blood alcohol reading. A dram shop case requires evidence that establishments served alcohol to a patron such as McGurk while he showed signs of visible intoxication. This is usually done with a blood alcohol reading, combined with expert testimony. The Almazo family will instead have to rely upon eyewitness testimony.
The Complaint, a copy of which can be seen here, also seeks to recover for injuries sustained by Almazo's grandson.