A man who was punched by a Surrey pub patron is seeking to have the courts hold the establishment liable for allegedly over-serving the man who assaulted him.
Justice Gordon Funt, via videoconference in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, heard that Andrew Garisto was punched by Ronald Goudie, whom he’d not previously met, after leaving the Dublin Crossing Irish Pub at closing time on Aug. 14, 2016.
Garisto said the assault came without warning, and the punch caused him to fall and hit his head on the pavement, resulting in a skull fracture and traumatic brain injury. Goudie has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.
Defendant Craic Holdings No. 2 Limited, doing business as the pub, which is located at 18789 Fraser Highway, did not admit to over-serving Goudie but argued that even if had, it should not be found liable in this case because unlike impaired driving, a patron suddenly assaulting another is not reasonably foreseeable.
“On this basis, Dublin Crossing seeks to sever the question of liability from damages and seeks to have the action dismissed as against it because, even if over-serving were proven, it would, as a matter of law, not be liable,” Funt noted in his June 28 reasons for judgment.
He dismissed the defendant’s application for a summary trial including severance of liability.
“The standard of care is determined, in large measure, based on the factual context, which includes whether the specific risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable,” Funt decided. “In the case at bar, justice requires that the factual context be determined by way of a conventional trial.”
The plaintiff’s lawyer John Richter, of Richter Trial Lawyers, argued that a conventional trial is needed to establish Goudie’s level of intoxication, allegations that Dublin Crossing’s staff breached the Serving it Right program and the pub’s own policies, and to hear evidence from experts concerning a causal link between intoxication and aggression, including assaults.
Funt noted Garisto is seeking punitive damages and in his view, consideration of whether they should be awarded, and if so the amount, “are best determined by way of a conventional trial.
The judge added he made no findings of fact, in particular if Goudie was over-served, and concluded that on the “whole of the evidence before the court on this application, I am unable to find the facts necessary to decide the issues of facts or law and, further, it would not be just to do so. A conventional trial is the just approach.”