Lawsuit alleges restaurant over-served alcohol prior to fatal wreck

Court documents filed in Charleston County allege a peninsula restaurant over-served alcohol prior to a wreck that killed three patrons.

Trevor Holmes, William Morton Jr. and Tanz Scott, all of West Ashley, enjoyed a night of drinking July 14, 2012, at Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi, 61 State St., according to the wrongful death suit.

After leaving the restaurant around 2:30 a.m., the Mercury Marauder the men were in crossed the center lane on Playground Road and rammed into a utility pole and tree. Holmes was drunk at the wheel, the documents alleged.

Holmes, 37, and Morton, 35, were pronounced dead at the scene, Charleston police reported at the time. Scott, 32, was taken to Medical University Hospital, where he died roughly an hour later.

The wrongful death suit, filed by attorney Brooks Derrick for the families of Scott and Horton, found fault with the restaurant and its staff.

The restaurant did not respond to a request for comment.

“As a direct and proximate result of Defendant Wasabi’s breach, Mr. Scott and Mr. Morton were fatally injured and their families have suffered substantial economic loss, mental anguish, psychological trauma, and burial and funeral expenses,” the documents stated.

The restaurant’s staff violated state law by serving “considerable amounts of alcohol” to the men, “despite their increasing and obvious intoxication,” the documents alleged.

“The essential purpose of these statutes is to promote public safety and prevent intoxicated people from becoming even more intoxicated and therefore an even greater risk to the public at large,” the suit stated.

The staff knew that one or more of the men would be driving and that the driver would be “grossly and dangerously impaired,” the documents alleged. An autopsy indicated that Holmes’ blood alcohol level was more than the legal limit of .08 percent when the wreck occurred, the documents stated.

Wasabi was negligent in that it failed to “adequately train, supervise, or monitor the activities of its bartenders, servers, and employees,” and failed to implement safety policies, according to the documents. Servers also failed to acknowledge that Holmes was drunk or offer the men an alternate way home, the documents said.

The families have requested a jury trial and are seeking compensation for actual, consequential and punitive damages.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.