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Bar Ordered to Pay $10 Million for Drunken Patron's Attack

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Chattanooga,TNDan Maddy could easily have bled to death after he was the victim of violent, unprovoked attack by a drunken patron of Ruby Tuesday's bar – fortunately the bar was located near a hospital. "If he hadn't been treated quickly he might have died," says Maddy's lawyer, Joe DeGaetano. He suffered severe personal injury: "His carotid artery was severed and he has permanent scarring."

Ruby Tuesday's is also showing a few scars after what happened in their bar in Smyrna, Tennessee one night in August 2005. A jury recently ordered the bar to pay Maddy $10 million in punitive exemplary damages as well as $25,000 for pain and suffering and another $10,000 for permanent impairment and disfigurement.

An aircraft inspector from Michigan, Dan Maddy was on vacation and having a quiet drink and minding his business. Over the course of the evening, another patron of the bar began verbally harassing Maddy. Although the man was growing increasingly drunk, the bartender continued to serve him.

The man told Maddy he doubted he was an aircraft inspector. Maddy laughed and asked if he would believe him if he told him he was a sewer inspector. A few minutes later the man smashed a beer across Maddy's face and raked the glass down his neck and across his chest.

Roll Tape Please

"Our client told us how much the man had to drink and it was a lot," says DeGaetano. "During the discovery process we obtained the surveillance tape from the bar that showed the bartender had served him 110 ounces of beer and 8 ounces of 100 proof liquor," says DeGaetano. "That's the equivalent of 19 mugs of beer."

According to the documents, Ruby Tuesday's denied that the man appeared intoxicated, denied that the amount served was excessive and didn't believe that they had over-served a drunken patron.

"We had receipts from the bar and it showed how much the man had to drink, but it does help when jurors could see with their own eyes," says DeGaetano, who believes that the video tape helped the jury come to reach a very clear and expensive verdict against Ruby Tuesday's.

"They were sending a message," says DeGaetano. ""The public is not going to tolerate an abdication of responsibility when it comes to the over-serving of alcohol."

The intoxicated man was convicted of aggravated assault and spent 6 months in prison in Tennessee.

Joe DeGaetano earned his J.D. at the University of Georgia (2000) where he graduated 2nd in his class. DeGaetano also holds a B.Sc. in economics from Vanderbilt University (1996).

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