Philadelphia Nightclub Responsible for Wrongful Death of 23-Year-Old Woman

Share Article

Lawsuit Reinforces That Bars Must Bear Social Responsibility of Protecting Their Customers and the Public at Large from Over Intoxication. Jury Awards 1.9 Million Dollars to Estate of Brynne A. Schuenemann

A Philadelphia nightclub, Dreemz, has been held civilly accountable in the death of 23-year-old Brynne A. Schuenemann for continuing to serve the victim alcoholic beverages despite visible intoxication. As a result of Dreemz negligence, Ms. Schuenemann died tragically from injuries sustained when her automobile crashed along Delaware Avenue on November 5, 2006.

The lawsuit, Plaintiff, Raymond F. Schuenemann, III, Administrator of the Estate of Brynne A. Schuenemann, deceased v. Defendant, Dreemz, LLC Court of Common Pleas Philadelphia County October Term, 2008 No. 2676, filed on behalf of the Estate of Brynne A. Schuenemann by R. Erick Chizmar, Esquire, of Levy, Baldante, Finney, Rubenstein, Cohen & Chizmar, P.C. contends that Dreemz nightclub served an excessive amount of alcohol to a visibly intoxicated Schuenemann to the point where her blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit.

At the time of her death, Schuenemann was attending Temple University and was working part time in the bookkeeping department of a Philadelphia law firm. A well-respected, reliable and conscientious young woman, Schuenemann ultimately wanted to work as a Social Worker or Paralegal.

"This was a tragic case that didn't need to happen," says Chizmar. "While Pennsylvania permits and even encourages the sale of intoxicating beverages for profit, bars and restaurants must bear the social responsibility of protecting the public and their customers by ensuring that they do not continue to serve alcoholic beverages to noticeably intoxicated customers."

At trial, Dreemz could not identify the name of any bartender who was employed on the night of Schuenemann's death and could not produce one Certification card verifying that its beverage service personnel were formally trained (by the Liquor Control Board or by an entity certified by the board to conduct such training) to recognize and prevent the service of alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons. This was one of the conditions imposed upon Dreemz when it requested and obtained its Liquor License.

The verdict in the civil case, which was decided on May 14, 2010 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, concluded that Defendant, Dreemz Nightclub violated Pennsylvania by serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated Brynne Schuenemann and further determined that the conduct of Dreemz "showed reckless indifference to the interests of Schuenemann and others." The jury allocated responsibility for the accident and determined that Dreemz was 51% negligent and Schuenemann 49% negligent. Thus, the final verdict will be reduced by 49%.

"Dreemz, like many bar and nightclub owners insisted on placing profitability over the greater need for public health and safety," says Chizmar. "These actions substantially contributed to Schuenemann's death and the pain and suffering endured by her and her family. While we in no way condone drinking and driving, I am hopeful that this verdict will emphatically remind Pennsylvania's restaurant and bar owners that under no circumstances should they serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated customers."

About R. Erick Chizmar, Esquire

R. Erick Chizmar is a civil trial attorney who represents those who have suffered serious personal injury or property damage. Chizmar has successfully tried or settled medical malpractice, elevator, work place injury, automobile, commercial vehicle, product liability, premises liability, dramshop, wrongful death and fire subrogation cases. He has had several million dollar recoveries, including recent settlements in the amount of $2,800,000.00 in a premises liability case, $1,200,000.00 in a construction site accident and $1,112,500.00 in a wrongful death / survival action premises liability suit. A member of the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York state and federal bars Chizmar is also member of the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

About Levy, Baldante, Finney, Rubenstein, Cohen & Chizmar, P.C.

Levy, Baldante, Finney, Rubenstein, Cohen & Chizmar, P.C. was founded in the mid 1960's. Through the years, we have been committed to the challenge of championing the rights of people victimized by tragedy, protecting the interests of individuals wronged by greed, and standing defiantly in the face of injustice. From the ranks of our attorneys, the firm has spawned judges, legal scholars, academicians, and prominent trial lawyers: all contributing to our long held reputation for excellence in the legal community.

The attorneys who comprise the law firm today are proud to continue this legacy and perpetuate its well-earned reputation. They are dedicated litigators with far-reaching experience in diversified legal areas extending from medical malpractice litigation, products liability law, pharmaceutical cases, mass tort litigation, motor vehicle claims, and other severe personal injury cases, such as brain and spinal cord injuries. Achieving multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in all aspects of personal injury litigation for several decades has earned Levy, Baldante, Finney, Rubenstein, Cohen & Chizmar a national reputation for handling the most complex cases.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jamie Joffe

610-941-4222
Email >