MONTGOMERY (October 15, 2020) – On Monday a Mobile County, Alabama, jury delivered a verdict of $12,446,975 against the Poarch Creek Indian (PCI)-owned Mobile Greyhound Park. The jury determined that the Mobile Greyhound Park served Willie McMillian alcohol when he was visibly intoxicated. Within 10 minutes of leaving the Mobile Greyhound Park Willie McMillan, while traveling 97 mph, crashed into the rear of a car occupied by Katerial Wiggins, Dominic Turner, Sr., and Dominic Turner, Jr. Dominic Turner Sr. was killed in the crash and Katerial Wiggins and Dominic Turner, Jr., were injured. Beasley Allen’s Cole Portis, Kendall Dunson and Graham Esdale represent Wiggins and Turner, Jr.
Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Pipes presided over the case which is one of the first civil trials held since Alabama Courts, and Courts across the nation, shut down following the rising number of COVID-19 cases earlier this year.
“The jury sent a strong message,” Esdale said. “The violation of the law of serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person by Mobile Greyhound Park killed a hardworking man and left his family changed forever. No 5-year-old son like Dominic Jr. should witness the death of his father. Katerial Wiggins and her son are strong people who have faith in God to comfort them and see them through this tragedy. They have certainly struggled to deal with the trauma and pain this has caused, but are grateful that the jury saw fit to send a message that entities that serve alcohol must do so responsibly.”
Mr. McMillian consumed alcohol at Mobile Greyhound Park on June 6, 2015, before getting in his vehicle and driving down Interstate 10 in Mobile County, Alabama. At the same time, Ms. Wiggins, along with every other vehicle on Interstate 10, was stopping for traffic due to a wreck on the interstate in front of her. Due to his intoxicated state, Mr. Wiggins did not slow for traffic and plowed into the Wiggins vehicle. Officers working the other wreck immediately arrived on the scene and noted Mr. McMillan’s signs of visible intoxication – smell of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, unsteady on his feet. McMillian’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was tested three hours after the crash at .202 (the evidence was that Mr. McMillan had consumed the equivalence of 20-23 beers).
In finding for the plaintiffs, the jury agreed that Mobile Greyhound Park wrongly served McMillian contrary to the provision of Alabama laws. A settlement was reached just before the verdict was announced. In discussions with the jury following the trial, the jury wanted all to know that it did not approve of Mobile Greyhound Park’s conduct. They wanted to ensure that a message was sent to Mobile Greyhound Park and other liquor establishments in Mobile that it is vital for them to follow the law in order to avoid tragic consequences like the one that resulted in this case.
The case was filed in the Circuit Court for Mobile County Alabama, case number 02-CV-2016-900306.00.
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