Bar-bowling alley partially responsible after failing to promptly call police
TMR Amusements, Inc., doing business in Huron County as the "Longshot Lanes Bar & Grill," got hit with a verdict for $160,000.00 after Carl Schnorr suffered massive facial injuries in the TMR parking lot. Schnorr had been drinking and bowling with friends when his brother-in-law, Dawidowski, became embroiled in an altercation on the dance floor. The brother-in-law was ejected from the bar by bouncers, and Schnorr left the bar to investigate, only to find Dawidowski being held by the bouncers so that an assailant could strike him. When Schnorr approached to interrupt the attack on his brother-in-law, he was struck down and suffered massive facial fractures. The jury held that the bar was partially responsible for his injuries as a result of its delay in calling police.The bar appealed, arguing first that the facts did not support the jury's holding and that it owed no duty to Schnorr or the other patrons. The Appeals judges pointed out that the dance floor altercation occurred at 1:45, while Schnorr was struck and unconscious before the first 911 call at 1:56.
In fact the evidence showed that bar employees never called the police, who were called by Schnorr's companions and arrived at 1:58. On this basis, the Court held that it was not unreasonable for the jury to place partial blame on the bar for failing to promptly call police, and the jury's conclusion that a prompt call would have prevented Schnorr's injury was also not unreasonable.
Meanwhile, due to the activism of Republican Justices, the bar owed no duty to avoid creating this type of environmnent, and was not responsible for the assailant's intoxication. Schnorr could impose responsibility on the servers if he could prove the assailant was visibly intoxicated at the time of his last alcohol purchase: Under an "Engler Majority" ruling,"visible intoxication would require one of the assailant's companions or a server to testify to that effect: his blood alcohol level--no matter how high--could not establish that fact.