Nightclub to Pay $4.2 Million for Serving Drunk Driver

Car key sunk in a shot glass of whiskey

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A nightclub has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a medical student killed by a drunk driver who spent hours drinking at the club.

Daniel Musser was a sailor stationed at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Conn., when he went to the Ultra 88 nightclub at the Mohegan Sun casino in nearby Uncasville. He drank for several hours before getting in his car, driving the wrong way on the interstate  and slamming head-on into a van carrying eight students.

Among the passengers was Elizabeth Durante, a 20-year-old medical student who organized her fellow students to make a humanitarian trip to Uganda. They were on their way to the airport when the accident occurred.

Durante’s parents, Keith and Kathleen, sued the club’s owners claiming they acted recklessly and negligently for overserving Musser, whose blood alcohol level after the crash was 0.13, well above the .08 legal limit.

A jury heard two days of evidence before the nightclub agreed to pay $4.2 million to settle the case, ending the trial. Musser had been slated to testify the following day. He is serving a six-year prison sentence for second-degree manslaughter.

Attorney Robert Reardon headshot

Attorney Robert Reardon

The jury did hear testimony from a bartender at the club, Sarah Webster, who served Musser several drinks before calling security to remove him from the club for lewd behavior.

The Durante’s attorneys, Robert I. Reardon Jr and Kelly E. Reardon of the Reardon Law Firm, also sued Mohegan Sun tribal officials, but a judge ruled that they had sovereign immunity.

The nightclub also settled the cases of three other students and the van driver earlier in the trial for a confidential amount of money.

 

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