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Rosen, Rosen & Hagood secures $30 million verdict for a client



Richard Rosen and Alex Cash recently prevailed in a dramshop claim against Texaco Oil Company and its local mini-mart and oil jobber.

The jury in Bamberg, South Carolina found the defendants liable for damages of $30,000,000, which was then reduced by 10% based on the plaintiff’s own negligence. Judgment was entered for $27,000,000 against all defendants. The jury found that the local Texaco Station in Denmark, South Carolina had sold Thunderbird wine and Schlitz Malt Liquor beer to a group of teenagers, which ultimately resulted in a severe single car wreck. The plaintiff was a seventeen year old high school student who was rendered quadriplegic by the incident. Two others died in the wreck.

Documentation and admissions undercross examination by Texaco’s corporate representatives proved that Texaco had the right to control the operations of the local Texaco station and even prevent alcohol sales. The mandatory Texaco Brand Standards were so stringent that local owners were required to gain corporate approval of beer signs on beer coolers.

Other evidence revealed that Texaco had the right to mandate alcohol management training of the employees at the station, but that they never actually conducted such training. Additional evidence revealed that Texaco used a “secret shopper” program to insure rules were complied with such as gas station attendants wearing the Texaco corporate star and not wearing excessive jewelry or displaying visible tattoos. Despite having a 69 point rule checklist, these same “secret shoppers” did not bother to check to see if the Texaco station carded minors trying to buy alcohol. Rosen, who has a national reputation for successfully trying complex cases, said that the jury responded to the argument that alcohol and gas don’t mix. “We reviewed reams of corporate documents, and found no concerted effort to i.d. minors. We found a very concerted effort to profit from alcohol sales. And unfortunately, our client paid dearly.”

Post trial motions are pending and should be set for hearing in August.


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