South Hackensack bar ordered to pay $800,000 under crash suit
BY: KIBRET MARKOS (The Record STAFF WRITER)
A South Hackensack bar has been hit with an $800,000 verdict for serving alcohol to a woman who caused a crash that seriously injured her passenger two years ago.
Pleasure Lounge on Route 46 is responsible for 20 percent of a $4.1 million award given to Robert Randle of Oradell, who has been confined to a hospital and rehabilitation center since the Oct. 8, 2008, accident.
A jury in Superior Court in Hackensack found that the bar sold alcohol to a visibly intoxicated Dawn Wagner, who left the bar, picked up Randle from a diner, and 15 minutes later crashed into a utility pole in Ridgefield.
Wagner, who suffered a head laceration and was hospitalized after the crash, is responsible for 80 percent of the award.
“But she has minimal insurance,” said Randle’s attorney, Barry Epstein. “We are not too hopeful to get much, if anything, from her.”
Daniel Jahnsen, the attorney who represented Pleasure Lounge, did not return two phone calls Monday.
Epstein said Wagner, 37, and Randle, 59, became friends after they met at a diner where Wagner worked as a waitress and Randle was a regular.
Randle, who worked at a document production company in Hackensack, had given up his car because he couldn’t afford the insurance and other costs, Epstein said.
Wagner picked him up from the diner and was driving him to her home in Guttenberg when the crash occurred, Epstein said.
The crash left Randle with serious fractures and injuries, and he is still receiving treatment at a heath center in Oradell, Epstein said.
Randle’s lawsuit was filed under New Jersey’s “dram-shop” liability law. Alcohol vendors can be held responsible for damages caused by patrons if the patrons are minors or were visibly intoxicated when they were served alcohol.