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Toxicology expert’s testimony of his ability to testify on habitual alcohol addiction is properly excluded.

January 1, 2019
Hayes Robertson Group v. Cherry, 2018 Fla. App. Lexis 17907 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018)

A bar and restaurant was sued pursuant to the Florida Dram Shop Act after its off-duty employee killed and injured several scooter riders on his way home from the bar. After work, the employee consumed two alcoholic drinks at the bar. Since the employee had no personal assets and no insurance, the plaintiffs sued the bar. The case went to trial, and the jury absolved the bar of liability. In Florida, a bar/restaurant is permitted to serve drinks to its employees while off-duty. The bar is not ordinarily liable, unless it is aware the employee is habitually addicted to alcohol. The plaintiffs argued the bar knew its employee was habitually addicted to alcohol. The trial court precluded the plaintiff’s toxicology expert from testifying regarding certain medical/alcoholism issues. The Appellate Court affirmed this decision, concluding that medical toxicology and the ability to express an admissible opinion on habitual alcohol addiction were beyond the expert’s experience and qualifications. 

 

Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2019

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