Fun Products, Inc. is in the business of designing computer games. At the end of a particularly successful year, company management decided to throw a celebration party at which it would announce large bonuses for the entire workforce. The party was held in the banquet room of a local hotel, owned by the Milton Hotel chain, and was catered by the hotel, including an open bar for all guests. Employees were also invited to bring a spouse or significant other. A good time was had by all, but too much fun was had by a few, including Larry Lush, and his wife, Linda. Larry and Linda had attended other company functions at which alcohol was served, and had a reputation for drinking a bit too much.
The company offered a free taxi ride home to any employee who had a bit too much to drink, but Larry and Linda declined the free cab ride, and attempted to drive home in their own car. En route, Larry, who was driving, struck another vehicle, injuring Veronica, the driver of that car. Larry has limited assets, and his insurance had just expired, as well as his driver’s license. Veronica wants to sue Fun Products, Inc. and the Milton Hotel chain for her injuries, which include medical bills, lost wages, property repair costs (her car), and pain and suffering. She also wants to obtain a court order prohibiting Fun Products, Inc. from ever serving alcohol at a company function again.
Without trying to decide who will win if Veronica sues Fun Products, Inc. and the Milton Hotel chain, analyze the following. Who are the parties to this lawsuit, and what are they called (trial level and appeal level)? What types of law will Veronica’s lawsuit involve? What type of remedies is she seeking, and are these remedies (or some of them) appropriate to this type of case? What legal sources will the court consider in deciding if Fun Products, Inc. and the Milton Hotel chain (or either of them) are liable for Veronica’s injuries? What types of liability does Larry face as a result of this scenario? What burden of proof will apply? What issues in this dispute would a jury decide (if the case went to trial), and what issues would a judge decide? What if the person(s) with liability here doesn’t have the money to pay Veronica’s damages?