$15.6 Million Settlement in Lawsuit Against Drunk Driver

The family of a 7-year-old girl who was killed by a drunk driver after he left a Pittsburgh restaurant has reached a $15.6 million settlement in the case.

The parents of Lexa Cleland contend that the restaurant was responsible for their daughter’s death on December 4, 2010. Lexa was asleep in the back seat of their Toyota Camry, as her mother drove to pick her husband up from work that evening. The young girl was killed instantly when a Ford Mustang, driven by a drunk driver, struck their car. Travis Isiminger has pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and was sentenced to six to twelve years in prison.

According to the settlement agreement filed with the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Isiminger consumed at least six liters of beer and several shots of liquor over a period of about 4 ½ hours.  It was also reported in the settlement that just prior to 10 P.M., Isiminger vomited on a table at the restaurant and was escorted out of the bar by security. He was allowed to leave, walk to his car, get into his car and drive away. The crash occurred a short time later.

One hour following the crash, Isiminger’s blood alcohol level was 0.219, which is more than twice the legal limit. His vehicle was estimated to have been traveling 67 mph at impact. The speed limit was 25 mph.

In addition to the settlement, the German-style establishment, Hofbrauhaus, has agreed to several changes in their protocol in an attempt to reduce customer intoxication and drunk driving.  It will now require its staff, including managers, servers, bartenders and security, to be certified in Responsible Alcohol Management training through an approved Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board trainer.  Included in job descriptions for security personnel will be responsibility for identifying intoxicated patrons.  The restaurant will also establish responsible alcohol service guidelines to be used as part of training for employees. It will also use a new point-of-sale system to provide individual checks so employees can determine how much alcohol each customer has consumed. It also will serve water to guests to slow alcohol consumption; establish a designated driver program, offering complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and will provide free light food for guests who appear to be intoxicated.

Lexa Cleland’s mother, Nicole Cleland, who was pregnant at the time of the accident, sustained severe injuries, including a broken pelvis. She also suffered a miscarriage.

The lawsuit was filed against both Hofbrauhaus and the drunk driver, whose insurance will be responsible for paying $100,000 of the settlement.  Nicole Cleland will receive  $8.9 million, $500,000 to Mark Cleland and $2.1 million to the estate of Lexa Cleland.

Feel free to contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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