According to the Complaint, the Defendant, Retreat at Gainesville, LLC, hosted a St. Patrick’s Day pool party and provided free alcohol at the Retreat on March 17, 2017. Promotional materials for the event encouraged attendees to bring their own beer and did not mention any age restrictions.
Upon arriving at the pool party, no one asked Massey for identification. Although underage, retreat employees welcomed him to the party by encouraging him to consume beer from unmanned kegs around the pool.
Witnesses testified that underage drinking was common at The Retreat Gainesville pool parties. Despite warnings to management by a community ambassador, nothing was done to control or monitor underage drinking during the pool parties. Testimony revealed employee focus was limited to prohibiting glass in the pool area rather than curtailing underage drinking.
Massey sued University Chevron, the Retreat at Gainesville, and Top Tier Entertainment. Ultimately, Top Tier Entertainment was let out of the case via summary judgment prior to trial.
Massey’s counsel initially made a social host liability claim against the Retreat. However, the judge ruled the social host liability law did not apply because the pool area was not considered residential premises.
Massey’s counsel argued that the Retreat provided alcohol to Massey, a minor, without checking for identification. Counsel argued the Retreat created an environment that encouraged guests to drink. To support this argument, counsel presented promotional materials and videos that the Retreat filmed during previous parties on the premises depicting wild free-for-alls.
Massey’s counsel argued inadequate supervision was lacking at the party. Counsel claimed the retreat knew there were drunk people near the swimming pool and should have hired a lifeguard to patrol the area.
Massey’s counsel retained Dram Shop Expert Preston Rideout to opine on pool party operations, responsible alcohol service, intoxication identification, and risk management techniques to prevent alcohol-related pool party injuries.
The jury found University Chevron, Retreat at Gainesville, and Massey himself were all responsible for Massey’s injuries assigning 20% liability to the Retreat, 30% to University Chevron, and 50% to Massey.
For more information about responsible alcohol service, pool party operations, and security techniques to prevent alcohol-related injuries, contact the Dram Shop Experts or call (662) 466-6045 to speak with Preston Rideout.
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