McDonald’s Not Liable for Drunk Brawl Death

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By Patrick L. Gregory

The parents of a man killed in a brawl outside of a Washington McDonald’s restaurant can’t sue McDonald’s Corp. for negligence, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Jan. 26.

Patrick Casey’s parents alleged that their son died after being punched by Jason Ward, who was allegedly intoxicated, in an altercation that began in the restaurant, the court said.

Under D.C. law, a tort plaintiff suing for negligence “must show that the defendant violated a national standard of care,” the decision by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh said.

Casey’s parents failed to show that McDonald’s violated a national standard of care by not hiring a security guard and by not training its employees to prevent or break up fights, the court said.

But they can proceed with claims that bars acted negligently by allegedly serving alcohol to Ward, who was “visibly intoxicated” in the hours before he assaulted Casey, the court said.

Brendan J. Klaproth of Washington represented the Caseys.

Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata LLP represented McDonald’s.

Jordan Coyne LLP and Dominic G. Vorv of Washington represented the bars.

The case is Casey v. McDonald’s Corp. , 2018 BL 26466, D.C. Cir., No. 16-7124, 1/26/18 .

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick L. Gregory in Washington at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com

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