A bartender who suffered a serious head injury after downing dozens of alcoholic beverages in a single night has filed a lawsuit alleging he was over-served at a number of downtown Vancouver establishments.
Bradley Roger Johnson said he consumed 25 drinks over a period of about four hours after getting off work at The Kingston Taphouse and Grille on Aug. 23, 2016, including six double vodka sodas and six shots of whiskey.
As he was walking home at the end of the night, he fell backwards on Granville Street and struck his head on the sidewalk, leaving him with a “severe brain injury,” according to his BC Supreme Court claim.
“Mr. Johnson fell as a result of his extreme state of intoxication,” the lawsuit reads.
“There is both a legal and a common law prohibition against over-serving alcohol beverages … a visibly intoxicated patron should never be served more alcohol.”
Johnson said his drinking began at The Kingston – a Richards Street bar that has been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – where he drank two double-vodka sodas after finishing his bartending shift at around 11 pm
About half an hour later, he moved on to the Studio, a nightclub on Granville, where he allegedly downed two Strongbow ciders and two shots of Whiskey.
He then headed over to Relish, another bar on Nelson Street, at around 12:30 am and ordered “approximately four 12-ounce Lonetree ciders, a double vodka and soda and a shot of Jameson Whiskey,” according to his claim.
The last stop of the evening was back on Granville at The Roxy Cabaret. The lawsuit documents describe Johnson as a “very frequent patron” of the club, who was recognized by the bouncer and four different employees who allegedly served him alcohol.
Johnson ordered and received three rounds, each consisting of a double-vodka soda and a whiskey shot, at three different bars within the establishment, as well as one “further unidentified shot,” according to his claim.
The lawsuit alleges he left the bar in a state of “extreme intoxication,” and injured himself shortly after.
While in rehabilitation for his head injury, Johnson said he had to rely on his parents and others for support. He’s seeking damages for health care-related costs and loss of earning capacity.
None of the allegations in his lawsuit have been proven, and two of the establishments named as defendants, The Roxy and Studio, have filed responses denying Johnson’s version of events entirely.
The Roxy said Johnson was not over-served by staff, nor was he visibly intoxicated while leaving the club, saying he had “developed a high tolerance to alcohol” at the time of his accident.
“If the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time he departed The Roxy, which is expressly denied, the plaintiff left The Roxy in the care and company of persons who were, or alternatively who reasonably appeared to be, sober,” the response reads.
“The defendants were entitled to assume that the plaintiff’s companions would see that the plaintiff arrived safely at home.”