A limousine company can be sued where it dropped off a drunk passenger at his car and the passenger then drove drunk and killed someone. The limo had been hired by six men attending a bachelor party. It picked them up at a Boston sports bar, drove them to a Rhode Island club, and then returned them to the sports bar. Sadly, one of the men drove off and had an accident. He killed an off-duty police officer and injured two other people.
The injured people and officer’s family sued the limo company. The court said the limo company could be sued for negligence. It said the limo driver knew the passenger was drunk and could have foreseen that he would drive, since when he dropped him off after 2:00 a.m., the bar was closed and the MBTA had stopped running. On the other hand, it’s not clear what the limo company could have done – it didn’t have a right to restrain the passenger against his will or take him someplace he didn’t want to go.
The case is part of a recent trend in Massachusetts to allow more businesses to be sued after a drunk-driving accident. Recently, the state Appeals Court allowed a liquor store to be sued for selling beer to a minor, even though the minor himself didn’t drink and drive. The minor shared the beer with a friend, and the friend caused a car crash.