Friday, August 31, 2018

DUI Manslaughter Charge for David Zlokas in Death of Gary St. Peter in A1A Crash; Bar Named in Lawsuit

David Zlokas, a 64-year-old resident of Apartment 317 at the Surf Club condominiums on State Road A1A north of the Hammock, turned himself in and was booked at the Flagler County jail Wednesday (Aug. 29) on a drunk-driving-manslaughter charge, a second degree felony, for the death of Gary St. Peter, 67, in a car crash on Nov. 2 within view of the condominiums.

Zlokas was at the wheel of a Ford Mustang. St. Peter was his passenger. The two had been at a restaurant in Flagler Beach earlier, and were driving home. Zlokas, according to a Florida Highway Patrol investigation, was going at 80 mpg in a 50 mph zone when he failed to negotiate a curve to his left. The Mustang careened off the road and down an embankment, rolling and uprooting a tree along the way and crashing against more brush before slamming into two trees. The passenger side was especially damaged. St. Peter had been wearing a seat belt.

Zlokas’s blood-alcohol level tested at 0.154. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08. He was also injured, but not seriously.

“David Zlokas actions caused this traffic crash to occur,” his arrest report states, “which resulted in the death of Gary St. Peter and property damage to two palm trees.”

A second degree felony on conviction carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in prison. Zlokas also had also face a first-degree misdemeanor DUI with property damage charge, and a second-degree misdemeanor for drunk driving. When the State Attorney’s Office ratified the charges today (Aug. 31), the latter charge was dropped.

Zlokas was booked in at the jail at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, He’d bonded out an hour later, posting $50,000 bail.

The criminal charge is not his only immediate legal consequence. On April 17, Gary St. Peter’s wife, Janice St. Peter, representing her husband’s estate, sued Zlokas as well as Uncaged Tasting Room LLC, the company owned by Carolyn Mathis of Palm Coast, at whose restaurant and wine bar the suit states Zlokas and Gary St. Pierre had been drinking before the crash.

Janice St. Peter is claiming damages over $15,000 under a wrongful death suit, including funeral expenses and the prospective loss of income from her husband’s death. She subsequently filed a claimlisting total recoverable damages as exceeding $25 million. Zlokas, in his answer to the suit, declined to respond to all salient claims, invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate. He is being represented by Brett Little of Gainesville. He repeated the invocation in subsequent answers to additional requests except for a motion to stay the civil proceedings pending the conclusion of the highway patrol’s investigation “and possible prosecution” of Zlokas. St. Peter opposed the motion on Aug. 2.

The following day the parties received notice of an October hearing where the stay will be argued. The hearings are scheduled before Circuit Judge Terence Perkins in Courtroom 401 at the Flagler County courthouse on Oct. 23, starting at 10:30 a.m.

Uncaged Tasting Room–an establishment at 3214 Meridian Home Lane in the Hammock, just north of Bing’s Landing, off A1A. In the lawsuit’s count against Uncaged, Janice St. Peter is claiming that the restaurant and bar and its servers personally “knew Zlokas was habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages,” and “negligently and unreasonably sold” alcohol to him.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Jacksonville ‘Madden’ Shooting Survivors Expected To File Negligence Lawsuit

Several survivors of Sunday’s shooting at a Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville plan to file a negligent-security lawsuit against this week, lawyers have said.

Matt Morgan of the Orlando-based law firm Morgan & Morgan announced during a Tuesday press conference that his firm’s clients include one person who was shot twice in Sunday’s assault, as well as others who suffered physical or emotional injuries when David Katz, 24, opened fire at the video game competition at GLHF Game Bar.

“Business as usual on the security front will no longer be tolerated by Americans,” Morgan said, as quoted by the HuffPost. “We must demand more from business owners. It’s time for business owners and event organizers to step up their game.”

The firm said it will file the lawsuit this week, contending it is necessary to take action so soon after the shooting to “preserve all evidence,” the HuffPostreported.

We have been retained by a victim of the #Jacksonville Landing gaming tournament shooting. We are of the opinion this shooting could have, and should have, been prevented. Prayers to all those impacted by this senseless tragedy.

Morgan did not identify his clients, but added his firm continues to receive calls from survivors, USA Today reported. He also declined to say who the targets of the litigation are or the grounds of the expected lawsuit. The bar and restaurant that hosted the event are part of the Jacksonville Landing entertainment complex, a city-owned waterfront area. The event was organized by video game giant EA Sports.

“It is foreseeable that shootings could occur at this location,” Morgan said.

However, Morgan commented on Jacksonville Landing’s history of gun violence as a strong indication that further security measures should have been taken, according to the HuffPost report. Morgan & Morgan’s local branch sits right across from the landing, and the firm mentioned its office building was shot at in the last two months.

“Unfortunately, the country has watched this unfold too often in the past,” Morgan said, referencing the country’s history of mass shootings. “This is not the time in America for bare-bones security or, even worse, no security at all.”

One of the potential targets could be EA Sports. Its CEO Andrew Wilson released a statement Monday announcing the cancellation of the remaining Madden Classic qualifying tournaments to review its security protocols.

“We’ve all been deeply affected by what took place in Jacksonville,” Wilson said in the written statement. “This is the first time we’ve had to confront something like this as an organization, and I believe the first time our gaming community has dealt with a tragedy of this nature. Please take time to support each other through this challenging time.”


Nightclub employee sues establishment following fight on premises

HOUSTON – An employee of a suburban Houston nightclub is suing his employer following an alleged violent incident on the premises three months ago, recent Harris County District Court records show.

Terry Barnes filed a lawsuit against BMB Dining Services (Webster), Inc., doing business as Studio 80 Houston, on Aug. 27 in the Harris County 129th District Court.

In the 8-page original petition, Barnes says he was working at Studio 80 as a porter last May 5 when a fight broke out. The plaintiff alleges that he “was violently struck in the face, head, and body” with a barstool.

According to the suit, the business failed to nip the brawl in the bud though Barnes called for the bouncer.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages.

He is represented by Jeffrey N. Todd of The Todd Law Group, PLLC in Houston.

Harris County 129th District Court Case No. 2018-58024

Relatives of a Waterbury, Conn., man who died in a car crash that also killed the wife of longtime ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman has filed a lawsuit against a Connecticut restaurant.

A lawyer for the restaurant declined comment on the lawsuit, which seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

The Hartford Courant reports the family of 87-year-old Edward Bertulis alleges that Market Place Kitchen & Bar in Woodbury served alcohol to Katherine Berman while she was intoxicated on May 9, 2017.

Berman’s vehicle later struck the rear of an SUV driven by Bertulis. Both drivers were killed.

State police are continuing to investigate the crash, and the medical examiner has not released toxicology results.


Monday, August 27, 2018

Woodbury Restaurant Sued After Deadly Crash

WOODBURY, CT — Woodbury restaurant Marketplace Kitchen and Bar and its owner are being sued by the family of a man who was killed in a crash that involved Katherine Berman, the wife of longtime ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman. The lawsuit alleges that the restaurant served Katherine Berman past the point of intoxication and is liable for his death.

Both Edward Bertulis, of Waterbury and Berman were killed in the Route 63 crash in May 2017. Katherine Berman's vehicle crashed into Bertulis' vehicle. Bertulis' vehicle was struck in the rear end by the front end of Berman's vehicle, state police said. After the crash, Berman's vehicle continued to veer off the road to the right and down an embankment and overturned in a small body of water.

Bertulis' vehicle veered off the road, collided with a utility pole and landed in the center of the road on its roof, according to state police.

Berman was served alcoholic beverages while she was intoxicated in violation of state regulations, the lawsuit alleges.

Bertulis' estate seeks more than $2,500 in damages from Marketplace Kitchen and Bar and owner Elias Hawli.


Friday, August 24, 2018

Two Northeast Minneapolis bars sued in fatal drunk driving crash

The family of a man who died in a traffic crash is suing two Northeast Minneapolis bars, claiming the drunk driver involved was over-served alcohol and that led to the crash.

Northeast Social Club and Mayslack's Bar and Grill were the bars the drunk driver was at prior to the accident, according to the complaint, filed on Aug. 15. The case is now before Hennepin County's Civil Court.

Lawyer Paul Downes has represented the family of Brandon Pearson, who was killed riding his motorcycle in Northeast Minneapolis on Nov. 8, 2015, since after the crash. Hannah Weyh, another defendant in this case, was drunk when she hit Pearson, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in 2016, and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Weyh worked at Northeast Social Club on the day of the crash and, according to the civil complaint, consumed alcohol while working and continued to be served after becoming intoxicated. The complaint says Weyh then continued drinking at Mayslack's. She then drove her car, colliding with a motorcycle driven by Pearson.

Downes says the bars are liable under the Dram Shop Law, which makes a business that sells alcoholic drinks to a drinker who is obviously intoxicated or close to it, strictly liable to anyone injured by a drunken patron or guest.

Weyh's attorney declined to comment on the case.

Joe Wagner, the owner of Northeast Social Club, disputed the allegations, and Dean Jacklitch, the owner of Mayslack's, declined to comment. Wagner also owns Minneapolis-based Eat Street Social, which was not named in the case.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Jefferson City bars named in wrongful death suit following drunk driving crash

CALIFORNIA - A Lincoln County man filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday, accusing two Jefferson City bars of being responsible in the death of his son.

James Lovelace, who lives in Moscow Mills, named Spectators and The Mission in the lawsuit over the death of Graden Lovelace in a head-on crash in August 2016.

Joshua Blankenship, the other driver in the crash, faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors said he was drunk at the time.

In the lawsuit, Lovelace claims Blankenship drank alcohol he got at Spectators and The Mission before driving, and that the bars "knowingly served intoxicating liquor to Blankenship while he was visibly intoxicated."

Lovelace is seeking damages of at least $25,000 from each bar.