Underage drinking crash victim wins lawsuit against Applebee's

Crash victim wins lawsuit against Applebee's

A record $42 million that's what a Hernando jury is awarding a local quadriplegic man, paralyzed after a night of underage drinking at a popular restaurant.

“You go from being able to do everything, to not being able to do anything,” says Patrick Osmond.

Osmond took on Applebee's in court after the Brooksville restaurant served him and his underage friends beer.  They ended up crashing on their ride home. Now, a jury says Applebee’s has to fork out millions.

He hopes this pricey verdict serves up a warning to all business, “I hope other corporations learn from this and won't serve anyone underage. They'll follow their policies and they won't allow underage children to drink.  Drinking and driving -- I don't recommend that at all. It takes away everything,” says Osmond.

“I'm forever bound to a wheelchair from the chest down, I'm paralyzed,” Osmond says.  Everything changed for the active, high school grad 4 years ago.

“We had been served underage at the bar,” Osmond says.

Police arrested the Applebee's Bartender, Fallon Greenwald, after selling beer to Pat and 3 friends, ages 16 to 20.  As the boys headed home, they made it less than a mile. The driver, Joseph Raub, had a blood alcohol level of .04 and smashed into a palm tree.

“Which launched me out of the (truck) bed, where I severed my spinal cord,” Osmond says.

Osmond spent months in ICU and rehab. Now, $42 million dollars is the price tag a jury puts on his suffering, loss of wages, and disability.

His attorney, Wil Florin says it’s a wake-up call for everyone with a liquor license.  “It's time you stop serving underage patrons, because when you do, bad things happen. When bad things happen, you’ll be held responsible,” says Florin.

The judge finds Applebee's is 20% at fault and has to pay Pat around $8.4 million.
The driver is 40% at fault, but with limited insurance, Pat likely won't see that payout, and he takes responsibility for the rest for drinking and getting in the truck.

“We've all made mistakes in our lives, you can't change the past you might as will just keep looking forward,” says Osmond.

Patrick says he'll use the money to move out of his parents renovated carport and into a handicap accessible home, for a new wheelchair, college, and therapy.

No word when he'll see the payout from Applebee’s.

Even after the jury's decision, it doesn't seem Applebee's feels the restaurant did anything wrong saying in a statement: 

“This is a tragic story for the victims, their families and our community and our hearts go out to those impacted by this accident. We take very seriously the responsibility that comes with serving alcohol. We believe we fulfilled that obligation the evening of this accident. We also feel that reaching resolution is in the best interest for Mr. Osmond’s recovery and rehabilitation.”


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