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In response to a lawsuit blaming golf pro Tiger Woods for the death of a bartender who used to work at his restaurant, Woods’ lawyers have hit back with claims that the man was at least partly responsible for his own death, because he was high and stole alcohol before getting behind the wheel on the night of his death.
Nicholas Immesberger, 24, worked at The Woods in Jupiter, Florida, as a bartender, before driving drunk and getting into a fatal crash in December 2018. His parents filed a lawsuit earlier this year naming Woods, his restaurant and girlfriend (and general manager of the establishment) Erica Herman as partly responsible for their son’s death by allegedly allowing him to be served copious amounts of alcohol before he left the premises that night.
Immesberger’s parents claimed in their suit that their son was personally recruited to work at the restaurant because Herman knew him, the Washington Post reports. They went on to claim that Herman and Woods also knew of Immesberger’s longstanding problems with alcohol abuse, but accused them of still letting others serve him alcohol before he left the restaurant on the night of his death, making them legally responsible for the ramifications.
Woods was dropped from the suit last month, but his lawyers are continuing to fight back on behalf of the restaurant, GolfWeek reports. Woods’ attorneys are denying that either Herman or the restaurant are at fault, instead claiming that Immesberger not only chose to drink, but that he also got high on marijuana before leaving the restaurant, with his THC level reportedly being “more than five times the reporting limit,” the outlet reports, citing new court documents filed Monday.
They went on to claim that Herman and the restaurant are not responsible for Immesberger being served alcohol because, they claim, he wasn’t served at all — he stole the drinks. Immesberger, they reportedly said, “used his position as a bartender to take alcohol from this defendant for his own consumption without paying for it and against this Defendant’s policies, to become excessively intoxicated before he decided to drive himself on Dec. 10, 2018.”
They claimed that the late bartender is “more than 50 percent at fault” for the injuries he sustained in the crash because he chose to drive while impaired and made other decisions that led to the crash, Golf.com reports, citing court records.
While surveillance tapes from the day of the crash likely could have shed some light on what preceded the accident, that footage has been destroyed, according to GolfWeek. The restaurant’s legal team accused the family of failing to alert them quickly enough that the footage would be needed, only reaching out on Feb.19, despite having hired attorneys to look into the matter on Jan. 8, the outlet reports.
The footage would have “definitely [shown] that Nicholas F. Immesberger was not served alcohol by this Defendant,” the attorneys reportedly said.
In Monday’s filing, lawyers for the Woods also shifted blame onto the car’s manufacturers, General Motors and Chevrolet, because the airbags in the vehicle did not deploy during the crash, and that’s partly why Immesberger was ejected from the vehicle, Golf.com reports. They went on to claim that the car was evidence in the case, and yet Immesberger’s family did not stop the vehicle from being “scrapped or destroyed after the crash occurred.”
Immesberger, who was not wearing a seat belt at the time and whose blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit, died at around 6 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2018, after he lost control of his 1999 Chevrolet Corvette and crossed three lanes of highway traffic before skidding into a grassy area in a maneuver that sent the car flying into the air, according to Treasure Coast Newspapers. He reportedly died at the scene.
A motion that would dismiss Herman from the case is slated for Sept. 27, while mediation is scheduled to take place on Oct. 29, GolfWeek reports. Lawyers for the restaurant are reportedly seeking a jury trial.
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