Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

Family of Shrewsbury High School Senior Sues Former Bar Owner for Massachusetts Wrongful Death

Michael L. VonBehren was just 18-years-old when a Lowell drunk driver fatally struck him on Interstate 290 in December 2008. Now, his parents Dale and Kathleen VonBehren, are suing JBC of Worcester for the Shrewsbury teenager’s Massachusetts wrongful death.

Somang Ath, the 26-year-old driver of the vehicle that struck the car that their son was riding, was also killed in the tragic Massachusetts car accident. Prior to driving the wrong way and crashing head-on into the vehicle that VonBehren was in, Ath drank alcohol with friends at Jillian’s, a Worcester bar.

According to Massachusetts police, Ath’s BAC was .28%. The License Commission suspended the bar’s license for a week after determining that there was evidence that Jillian’s over-served him. JBC of Worcester, which was bought by Revolution Entertainment of Whitinsville this May, was the owner of the bar at the time that the deadly Shrewsbury traffic accident happened. 10 days after the tragic Shrewsbury car crash that killed Ath and VonBehren, Jillian’s allegedly over-served another man who had a BAC of .30.

The Massachusetts wrongful death complaint accuses the company of negligence for over-serving Ath and letting him get drunk. 50 “Does” were also listed as Massachusetts wrongful death defendants in the VonBehren’s civil lawsuit.

The VonBehrens are seeking damages for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and mental anguish.

Third Party Lawsuits
In Massachusetts, not only can you sue the drunk driver that caused a car crash for Boston personal injury or wrongful death, but you can also sue third parties, such as a bar or a liquor store, that contributed to the inebriated motorist becoming drunk. For example, a bar may have overserved the motorist, allowed an underage teen driver to drink or obtain alcohol, or let a drunk patron get behind the wheel of the vehicle. This holiday season, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Massachusetts State Police are cracking down on drunk drivers to prevent more alcohol-related crashes from happenings.

Family sues bar’s ex-owner in son’s death, Telegram.com, December 15, 2009
Dedham Police joins Massachusetts State Police in crackdown on drunk driving during the holiday, Wicked Local, December 15, 2009
Related Web Resources:
MassDOT

Fatalities and Fatality Rates in Alcohol- Impaired-Driving Crashes by State, 2007-2008, NHTSA (PDF)