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Family of accident victim sues bar


The family of a 20-year-old Hanover, Pa., man who died in a car accident last November after drinking at a Westminster bar is seeking $47 million in damages against the establishment, according to lawsuits filed in Carroll County Circuit Court.

Pamela J. Keller and Gregory A. Keller of Westminster, the mother and stepfather of David G. Shorter, claim that BJ's Sports Pub and Deli, now called Survivors Inn, was negligent in serving drinks to minors.

Mr. Shorter died in a car accident last Nov. 22 after he and a friend left the bar, located in the Fairground Village shopping center. David Maempel, Mr. Shorter's friend and housemate who was driving the car, fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree.

One lawsuit, a wrongful death claim, seeks $35 million in damages. The second lawsuit, which is a survival action, claims $12 million in damages.

Named as plaintiffs are BJ's owners, Barry Snyder and Joseph Kaplan, bartender Greg Reitz and Mr. Maempel.

The lawsuit says BJ's failed to ask for proof of age from Mr. Shorter and Mr. Maempel and served them alcohol while they were visibly intoxicated. The Kellers also accuse the bar of negligence for encouraging "excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages" by offering a $4 "all-you-can-drink" special on Nov. 21.

The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Maempel's wife called BJ's that night to say that Mr. Shorter and her husband were minors.

Mr. Maempel is accused of negligence for driving a car after drinking several alcoholic beverages.

BJ's owners came before the county liquor board three times earlier this year on charges that they served alcohol to minors.

At a January hearing, Mr. Maempel told the board he had been to BJ's many times and had never been asked for proof of age. He testified he drank 10 to 12 beers at the bar on the night of Nov. 21.

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