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Courtroom Observation

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BUSI 301

COURTROOM OBSERVATION PAPER

Indiana Northern District Court

Case Number 82a04-8876-cv285

Plaintiff: Deborah White Plaintiff representatives: Walsh Jackson and Amanda Babott

Defendant: Patrick Gibbs and O’Malley’s Tavern Defendant Representatives: Benjamin Walton and Jordan Van Meter

Defendant Council Overview:

Jordan Van Meter and Benjamin Walton are representing the defendant who is Patrick Gibbs and O’Malley’s Tavern. The representing defense suggests that the Court give a summary judgment to John Daniels who was the bartender at O’Malley’s Tavern. The Plaintiff is seeking damages from the defendant, Patrick Gibbs and O’Malley’s tavern stating that Mr. Gibbs had knowledge of Mr. Hard’s intoxication. The Indiana Law. Ind Code Ann 7.1-5-10-15.5 2006 does require that a defendant have actual knowledge in order to recover damages. Constructive knowledge does not satisfy the presumption, only subjective knowledge. Circumstantial evidences cannot support constructive knowledge, but only actual knowledge. According to the 7th circuit court of Indiana, visible acts of intoxication are subjective. The bartender himself only saw Mr. Hard sitting on a stool drinking whiskey which is not an uncommon occurrence in a bar. The case that was cited in the courtroom, the Ash Lock case (Ashlock v. Norris, 475 N.E.2d 1167, 1170 Ind. Ct. App. 1985) was not as severe as this case. This specific bartender at O’Malley’s Tavern did not have actual knowledge of Mr. Hard’s intoxication levels. He did not notice the altercation Mr. Hart had with Mr. White at the door nor did he notice Mr. Hard tripping over a pool stick. These specific inferences were after the last drink was served therefore this defendant considers this actual knowledge. Common law prior to the 1988 at the Supreme Court Statue does allow constructive knowledge for inferences and the statute was changed not to allow constructive knowledge to support inference. Therefore the statute does cut off liability at the last drink. The defendants want to try and get summary judgments that Mr. Daniels did not have actual knowledge of Mr. Hard himself being intoxicated. Upon leaving the tavern, Mr. Hard took it upon himself to follow Mr. White out of the parking lot damaging other cars and property on his way and then finally hitting Mr. White’s car and killing him. The intent of Mr. Hard is also being defended, in that while he was in his drunken state he hit Mr. White’s car. Therefore according to the defended proximate cause and actual knowledge can not be considered relevant because Mr. Hard did have an altercation with Mr. White at the tavern. He, Mr. Hard, then was suspected to deliberately get in his car and follow Mr. White hitting his car and ultimately killing him.

Plaintiff Council Overview:

Jackson Walsh and Amanda Babette were the chosen counsel for the plaintiff representatives of Barbara White. The opening statement for the plaintiff was that the defendants did have actual knowledge of Mr. Hart’s intoxication. Mr. Walsh did state that summary judgment should be denied. Mr. Walsh stated multiple reasons for the denial. One of those reasons that Mr. Walsh stated was that there is an instant of more than one reasonable inference. With this case, there is reasonable inference that Mr. Daniel’s does see signs of physical intoxication. The bar tab of Mr. Hard’s is mentioned, stating that Mr. Hard had purchased a total of 13 alcoholic drinks, but no one could confirm that he drank them all during his outing to the bar. It was mentioned that Mr. Hard had admitted to consuming a total of 5 alcoholic beverages before the plaintiff had ever arrived at the bar. It was then mentioned that the bartended served him 6 more alcoholic beverages. The BAC that was measured from Mr. Hard was .20; this is two and half times the legal limit. The plaintiff then noted that the Bartender should have known that Mr. Hard was intoxicated before he left. This is circumstantial knowledge that could lead to showing actual knowledge. It was also mentioned during the courtroom session that Mr. Hard himself stated to the police that he had consumed multiple beverages. All of these above mentioned reasons such as the time frame, the number of drinks possibly consumed by Mr. Hard, as well as Mr. Hard’s condition when leaving gives rise to reasonable inference that there was actual knowledge of intoxication. The plaintiff then allowed Ms. Babette to state her case. She talked about proximate causation. Ms. Babette did state that her client felt that this was not a criminal act but an act that had been allowed by a business who had given one of their patron’s too much to alcohol to consume. Ms. Babette stated that based on the evidence there Mr. Hard was not intending to crash into Mr. and Mrs. White’s car. A judge then gives a specific scenario for Ms. Babette to think about that what if Mr. Hard hit them while they were still in the parking lot. Could this scenario break causation? Ms. Babette states that yes it would then being a criminal act if he did this intentionally. The wreck of Mr. Hard and the Whites, according to Ms. Babette, was a probable occurrence and the proximate cause of injury or death.

I would have to agree with the appellant in this case. If the bartender did not see visible signs of intoxication, then how are we to know if Mr. Hart was intoxicated. Just because he consumed at least 11 alcoholic beverages that night does not mean that he was intoxicated. Alcohol has different effects on individuals in different ways. Mrs. White herself expressed thoughts that Mr. Hart may try to harm them in some way that night. If it was his intention to just harm Mr. White he would not have killed him with his car, but that is another case and not the one we are discussing right now. Mr. Hart is the only one liable for the actions he made on that night when he chose to commit a criminal act. The defendants are not negligent in any way.

In a biblical worldview for this case, we would see that we are not to judge others, that God is the judge in all. In Romans 13:1-14 (NLV) it states, “Every person must obey the leaders of the land. There is no power given but from God, and all leaders are allowed by God. The person who does not obey the leaders of the land is working against what God has done. Anyone who does that will be punished. Those who do right do not have to be afraid of the leaders. Those who do wrong are afraid of them. Do you want to be free from fear of them? Then do what is right. You will be respected instead. Leaders are God’s servants to help you. If you do wrong, you should be afraid. They have the power to punish you. They work for God. They do what God wants done to those who do wrong. You must obey the leaders of the land, not only to keep from God’s anger, but so your own heart will have peace. It is right for you to pay taxes because the leaders of the land are servants for God who care for these things. Pay taxes to whom taxes are to be paid. Be afraid of those you should fear. Respect those you should respect. Do not owe anyone anything, but love each other. Whoever loves his neighbor has done what the Law says to do. The Law says, “You must not do any sex sin. You must not kill another person. You must not steal. You must not tell a lie about another person. You must not want something someone else has.” The Law also says that these and many other Laws are brought together in one Law, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” Anyone who loves his neighbor will do no wrong to him. You keep the Law with love. There is another reason for doing what is right. You know what time it is. It is time for you to wake up from your sleep. The time when we will be taken up to be with Christ is not as far off as when we first put our trust in Him. Night is almost gone. Day is almost here. We must stop doing the sinful things that are done in the dark. We must put on all the things God gives us to fight with for the day. We must act all the time as if it were day. Keep away from wild parties and do not be drunk. Keep yourself free from sex sins and bad actions. Do not fight or be jealous. Let every part of you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not allow your weak thoughts to lead you into sinful actions.”

These verses help to reveal a picture of how we as Christian are to behave. It really helps some people that have nothing to do with some cases. The defendants in this case were victims. Without this summary judgment they may go to trial and be accused of something that they did not have any part in.

In conclusion, I believe both the Plaintiff and the Defendant presented compelling evidence for each of their cases. However; the mitigating circumstances of whether or not the bartender could sufficiently deem Mr. Hard to be legally intoxicated, presented reasonable doubt as to his liability, therefore making a ruling in his favor the only option.

Bible, New Life Version (NLV)

Legal Dictionary. Retrieved from The Free Dictionary: proximate cause

Legal Dictionary. Retrieved from The Free Dictionary: Summary Judgment

Liberty University Courtroom Observation

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