Facts: Petitioner Bianca Faust filed suit against respondent Mark Albertson, among others, in the Superior Court for Whatcom County after being injured in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver who had previously been served alcohol at a bar operated by Albertson, alleging that the drunk driver had been negligently over-served. The jury subsequently found for Faust and the trial court entered a judgment in her favor. However, the jury verdict was subsequently vacated by the Washington Court of Appeals, which ruled that no triable issue of fact existed as Faust had failed to present direct evidence that the driver had appeared intoxicated at the point of service. Faust appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Was Faust required to present direct rather than merely circumstantial evidence of apparent intoxication at the point of service in order to establish an issue of triable fact?
Conclusion: Justice Owens’ opinion for a unanimous Court held that although the eyewitness testimony introduced by Faust to establish that the driver appeared intoxicated at the time they were served alcohol was based upon observation of the driver shortly after rather than at the point of the alleged over-service, such circumstantial evidence that, coupled with corroborating evidence in the form of the driver’s blood alcohol content, might form the basis of a determination by jurors that the driver was negligently over-served was sufficient to establish an issue of triable fact. Thus, the Court reversed the Washington Court of Appeals’ decision and reinstated the jury verdict.
Petitioner: Bianca Faust, et al.
(Counsel: Philip A. Talmadge, Emmelyn Hart-Biberfeld, and Steven J. Chance)
Respondent: Mark Albertson, et al.
(Counsel: William E. Fitzharris, Jr., Russell C. Love, and Paul V. Esposito)
- Answer to Petition for Review
- Bellingham Lodge, Et Al. Answer to Amici
- Brief of Defendants-appellants
- Fausts' Combined Answer to Madd and Wsajf Amici
- Fausts' Supplemental Brief
- Madd Amicus
- Motion to Strike - Passed to the Merits
- Petition for Review
- Reply Brief and Cross-Appellees Brief
- Reply of Respondents and Cross-appellants
- Reply to Answer to Petition for Review
- Respondent Brief
- Supplemental Brief of Respondents
- Wsajf Amicus
Argument: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 10:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Opinion: 167 Wn.2d 531 (2009)
Court: Alexander4 Court (2008-2009)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.