Wrongful death suit filed against Beaumont pub

Marilyn Tennissen Aug. 19, 2010, 11:35am

The family of a man killed in a collision with a drunk driver has filed a wrongful death suit against the driver and the bar that served the alcohol.

Individually and on behalf of the estate of Nicholas Fugatt, Ken and Patricia Fugatt, residents of Lake Charles, La., filed the suit against driver Donna Elaine Montgomery, King Arthur's Pub, pub owner Richard Steven Fitzhenry and Fitzh Inc. The suit was filed Aug. 16 in Jefferson County District Court.

The plaintiffs claim on March 6, 2009, and into the early morning hours of March 7, 2009, Montgomery was served alcohol at King Arthur's Pub which led to an auto accident that killed Nicholas Fugatt. The Fugatts allege that servers at the pub should have known that Montgomery was intoxicated to the extent that she presented a "clear danger to herself and others."

According to the plaintiffs' original complaint, Montgomery has admitted that she began drinking beer on March 6, 2009, while helping a friend work on a dump truck. By Montgomery's admission, she had six to eight beers over the three-to-four hour period she helped the friend.

From there, Montgomery went to the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall at about 7 p.m., where she had nine to 10 beers. At 11 p.m., she headed to King Arthur's Pub on 11th Street and admits she had at least four more beers.

Prior to driving away in her truck from the pub, Montgomery had a total of 19 to 22 beers that day. A blood alcohol sample taken later that night indicated that Montgomery's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

The complaint states that Fitzhenry and pub employees did not provide Montgomery any alternate transportation and allowed the woman to drive away while "severely intoxicated."

Montgomery proceeded eastbound on Interstate 10 and reached a stretch of highway with no shoulder and bordered by a concrete barrier. At some point, Montgomery's F250 pickup hit the concrete barrier and continued to travel down the interstate scraping the passenger of the truck against the barrier.

Montgomery then stopped her vehicle in the outside lane and abandoned the truck without putting out markers or turning on hazard lights, the suit states.

Nicholas Fugatt was traveling eastbound on I10 in Chevrolet Impala when he collided into the rear of Montgomery's truck. He died at the scene.
The plaintiffs claim the collision occurred because of Montgomery's negligence and state of intoxication. Defendants Fitzhenry, King Arthur's Pub and Fitzh Inc. should have known Montgomery was a danger to herself and others.

The Fugatts are seeking to recover damages for Nicholas' pain and mental anguish prior to his death, funeral expenses, their own mental anguish and loss of consortium and companionship, exemplary damages, interest, costs and other relief.

Lance Bradley of McPherson, Hughes, Bradley, Wimberley, Steele & Chatelain LLP in Port Arthur is representing the plaintiffs.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Jefferson County District Court Case No: D187-587

More News