Articles Posted in Liquor Liability

A drunk driver going South on I-55 near the Woodrow Wilson exit rear-ended a Jeep causing the driver to loose control and flip over a bridge killing both passengers. The drunk driver, Yolanda McNeely, left the scene of the accident but was caught by JPD and arrested after she crashed her white convertible at the next exit. The victims are Robert Sims and Randall Sims.

The families of the victims may have a claim against the drunk driver and the business who over served her alcohol. This is called a dramshop case which allows a lawsuit against the establishment that sold alcohol to an adult who was visibly intoxicated at the time.75579_drunk_driving.jpg

Our lawfirm has handled numerous cases like this one to successful conclusion for the families. If you know of someone who was injured or killed by a drunk driver, call Paul Snow, now to discuss your legal rights at 601-969-1977. It doesn’t cost any money to discuss your case. There is no attorney fee unless we recover money for you.paul snow.jpg






Sawyer Steede of Lucedale, MS was arrested and charge with driving under the influence of alcohol as a result of an accident that happened in McDonald’s parking lot. The accident happened on Highway 12 in Starkville, MS. Starkville police department and the detective squad are investigating the tragic incident. Apparently, Kaleb Barker and Halli Reasons were riding in the bed of the pickup when the accident happened. Halli was treated and released,but Kaleb was killed as a result of the accident.75579_drunk_driving.jpg

The family of Mr. Barker can make a claim against the driver and his insurance company for driving drunk and allowing them to ride in the bed of the truck in the first place. More importantly, since the driver was only 18 years old, a claim can be made against the business that sold the alcoholic beverages to the minor. This is called liquor liability. The family can make a claim for loss of society and companionship, love and affection lost, medical and funeral bills and lost income that Kaleb would have earned during his lifetime.

If you know of someone who was killed by a minor who had been drinking and have some questions, please call Paul Snow, a board certified trial attorney, who will answer any of your questions FREE of charge. Call 601-969-1977 now. We have handled a number of alcohol related accidents over the years and know how to get results. Or, you may want to visit our website by clicking here.

If a set of facts are enough to justify a jury in a criminal case (with proof required “beyond a reasonable doubt”) to convict someone for culpable manslaughter, then those same set of facts are enough to justify a jury in a civil case (with a lesser burden of proof) to consider the issue of gross negligence. Gross negligence requires less proof than culpable negligence and reckless driving. Turner. 735 So.2d 226 (Miss. 1999).
Section 97-3-47 of Miss. Code of 1972 states as follows:

“Every other killing of a human being, by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, and without authority of law, not provided for in this title, shall be manslaughter.”
Culpable negligence means negligence of a higher degree than gross negligence in a civil case. If a defendant is guilty of culpable negligence in a criminal case, then that defendant will also be guilty of gross negligence in the civil courts. Culpable negligence is “the conscious or reckless disregard of the probabilities of fatal consequences to others as a result of the willful creation of an unreasonable risk.” Evans v. State, 562 So.2d 91 (Miss. 1990). Culpable negligence is also defined as “negligence of a degree that is so gross as to be tantamount to a wanton disregard, or utter indifference to, the safety of human life.” Clayton v. State. 652 So.2d 720 (Miss. 1995).
Moore v. State. 117 So.2d469 (Miss. 1960) (defendant’s conviction for culpable negligence was affirmed for going 55 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone). In Moore, the victim was crossing the street. The court held that the defendant could have seen the deceased and should have seen the deceased in time to apply his brakes; that he skidded 140 feet, hit a telephone pole and lost control of his vehicle; that the physical facts and the greater weight of the evidence contradicted the defendant’s testimony. The Supreme Court defined “culpable negligence” as follows: “Negligence of a higher degree than that which in civil cases is held to be gross negligence.” In other words, in order to sustain the jury deciding the issue of punitive damages as a result of gross negligence in a civil case, all one needs to do is prove more than simple negligence but less than culpable negligence.
Shows v. State, 168 So. 862 (Miss. 1936) (defendant convicted of culpable negligence for sideswiping another truck who was going over the speed limit and crossed over the center line -reversed because of improper jury instruction). The defendant was driving a big truck and after the impact he concluded that no damage had been done and proceeded on to his destination in Hattiesburg where he was arrested.
Goldman v. State, 406 So.2d 816 (Miss. 1981) (conviction for culpable negligence affirmed for defendant who was going 60 miles per hour, crossed over the double yellow line in a no passing zone, and hit somebody head-on coming from the opposite direction).
Section 63-3-1201 of Miss. Code of 1972 states as follows:

“Any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a willful or a wanton disregard for the safety or persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Reckless driving shall be considered a greater offense than careless driving.”

In the case of Turner v. City of Ruleville. 735 So.2d 226 (Miss. 1999), the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the dismissal of a complaint against the city for the actions of its police officer in allowing a drunk driver to continue driving after being stopped after the officer noticed that the defendant was driving in an erratic fashion and failed to have his headlights on. In reversing the case and allowing the jury to decide whether or not the city was liable for punitive damages, the Supreme Court held as follows citing Barnes v. State. 162 So.2d 865, 866 (Miss.
1964):The court held that for the purpose of the reckless driving statute, ‘reckless means ‘the commission of conscious acts or omissions which a driver knows or should know create an unreasonable risk of injury or damage…’.” The Court also stated: “For conduct to be ‘reckless’ it must be such as to evince disregard of, or indifference to, consequences, or the circumstances involving danger to life or safety to others, although no harm was intended’.” The Court defined “reckless disregard of rights of others” as follows: “…as used in automobile law, means the voluntary doing by motorists of an improper or wrongful act, or with knowledge of existing conditions, a voluntary refraining from doing a proper or prudent act when such act or failure to act evinces an entire abandonment of any care, and heedless indifference to results which may follow and the reckless taking of a chance of an accident happening without intent that any occur.” Id. at 229.
The Mississippi Supreme Court held as follows, citing Dame v. Estes, 101 So.2d 644,645 (Miss. 1958), which defined gross negligence as: “Gross negligence is that course of conduct which disclosed a reckless indifference to consequences without the exertion of any substantial effort to avoid them.”
The defendants argued that intent was required in order to make the city liable. The Court held: “While we agree that reckless disregard would encompass gross negligence, we hold that reckless disregard is a higher standard than gross negligence.” Id. at 229-30. In refusing to require that the plaintiff prove that the defendant intended to do harm, the Supreme Court quoted Evans v. Trader. 614 So.2d 955, 958 (Miss. 1993), which held that in order to defeat an immunity defense under the common law, the plaintiff would not have to show that the officer entertained a specific intent. It would suffice to show that the officer acted with wanton and reckless disregard for the plaintiffs safety.
The Mississippi Supreme Court has held that “punitive damages are ordinarily recoverable where the negligence is so gross as to indicate reckless or wanton disregard for the safety of others.” City of Jackson v. Perry,764 So 2d 373 (MS 2000) (57 mph in 35 mph zone knocking vehicle 75 feet; punitive damages affirmed), Also see Maye v. Pearl River County. 758 So.2d 391, 395 (MS 1999) (backing sheriffs car out of parking space up an incline; punitive damages affirmed).

Punitive damages may be recovered, not only for willful and intentional wrong, but for such gross and reckless negligence as is equivalent to such wrong, since an act done in the spirit of wantonness and recklessness is often times just as harmful as if prompted by malice. Bush v. Watkins. 80 So.2d 19 (Miss. 1955). The definition of gross negligence is found in Teche Lines. Inc. v. Pope, 166 So. 539 (Miss. 1936), which held that there is no precise definition of gross negligence, but it might be defined as that course of conduct which, under the particular circumstances, disclosed a reckless indifference to consequences without the exertion of any substantial effort to avoid them. Also see Reid v. Halpin, 178 So. 88 (Miss. 1938); Planters Wholesale Grocery v. Kincaid. 50 So.2d 578 (Miss. 195n: Belk v. Rosemond. 57 So.2d461 (Miss. 1952); and Dame v. Estes, 101 So.2d644 (Miss. 1958).
Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, the master is liable for the acts of his servants which are done in the course of their employment and in the furtherance of the master’s business; punitive damages may be awarded against a master for the negligent acts of his servant. Sandifer Oil Co. v. Dew, 71 So.2d 752 (Miss. 1954). Employer held liable for willful and wanton acts resulting in injury to boy whom driver of truck had invited to ride thereon. Trico Coffee Co. v. Clemens. 151 So. 175 (Miss. 1933).
The most important case on the issue is U.S. Industries. Inc. v. McClure Furniture Co.. 371 So.2d 391 (Miss. 1979). In U.S. Industries, the Mississippi Supreme Court held as follows: “We have to keep in mind that the basic theory is whether or not there was sufficient evidence for the jury to award punitive damages even though the evidence might be conflicting. It is not the court’s prerogative to make the award. It is only for the court to decide whether or not the party requesting a punitive damage instruction has presented sufficient evidence for the jury’s consideration. Yazoo & Mississippi Valley R.R. Co. v. Hardie. 55 So.42 (Miss. 1911); Snowden v. Osborne. 269 So.2d 858 (Miss. 1972).” Id. at 393.
In affirming the award of punitive damages, the Mississippi Supreme Court held as follows:”The evidence was uncontradicted that Mississippi Highway 550 is a well-traveled road, that the tractor-trailer completely blocked both lanes of traffic and that this occurred prior to sunrise which was at 6:50 on the morning of the accident, and that visibility was at best limited. Prudence would have required Jones to have moved his rig on to the shoulder of the road either to await full daylight or to place the necessary flares, or to have continued in his own lane until he found an appropriate intersection for completing the maneuver. Instead, Jones risked the possibility of collision against the possibility of completing the dangerous turn within the few moments when the road appeared to be clear of traffic. He exercised bad judgment under the circumstances.” (emphasis added)Id. at 393-94.
The U.S. Industries court also cited the Fifth Circuit Mississippi case of Anderson v. Eagle Motor Lines, Inc., 423 F.2d 81 (5th Cir. 1970) for allowing the punitive damage instruction to go to the jury. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the award of punitive damages and held that the blocking of the highway was gross negligence entitling the plaintiff to a punitive damage instruction.
Also see Commodore Corp. v. Bailey. 393 So.2d 467 (Miss. 1981), whereby the Mississippi Supreme Court in affirming the punitive damage instruction held as follows:
“If the evidence presented by the party requesting a punitive damage instruction is such that the jury could find that the wrongful acts complained of resulted from such gross disregard of the rights of the complaining party as amounts to wilfulness on the part of the wrongdoer, or that the opposite party was guilty of such negligence as to amount to a reckless disregard of the complaining party’s rights, then the court is fully authorized to submit the issue of punitive damages for the jury’s deliberation. Fowler Butane Gas Co. v. Varner, 141 So.2d 226 (Miss. 1962).”Id. at 471.

See Paracelsus Healthcare Corp. v. Willard, 754 So.2d 437 (Miss. 1999), whereby the Supreme Court previously remanded two cases for consideration of punitive damages and then affirmed the jury awards of 1.5 million dollars to each plaintiff for punitive damages and held that the evidence supported the finding that the jury could find the actions to be in gross disregard for the rights of the plaintiffs.
Punitive damages are defined as damages given in enhancement of ordinary damages on account of the wanton, reckless, malicious, or oppressive character of the acts complained of. Interstate Oil Pipeline Co. v. Valentine. 110 So.2d 369 (Miss. 1959).
In Sandifer Oil Co. v. Dew. 71 So.2d 752,758 (Miss. 1954), the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the lower court decision allowing the jury to consider punitive damages for a truck driver who left his truck pumping gasoline into a storage tank and went across the street to a restaurant and drank a cup of coffee. When someone alerted the truck driver that the gas was overflowing, the truck driver turned off the switch and stopped the motor and the pump. A few minutes later there was an explosion. In affirming the punitive damages award, the Supreme Court held that: “It was difficult to conceive of a case of more reckless and wanton disregard of the consequences of his act. His negligence was gross, it was reckless, and it was wanton to such extent as to be tantamount to wilfulness…those who handle such dangerous agencies should be made to know the standard of care which is required of them. It is regrettable that such a tragic occurrence is necessary to again bring such knowledge to those engaged in such business.” Id. at 758-759. “It is interesting to note and we concur in opinion that the ($90,000) ninety thousand dollar verdict in 1954 was the highest verdict in the country for the death of a child at that time.”
Dame v. Estes. 101 So.2d 644 (Miss. 1958) (question of whether plaintiff was entitled to recover punitive damages should have been submitted to the jury when the defendant failed to stop at a stop sign.) In Dame, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision in refusing to allow the jury to consider punitive damages and held that the facts justified a punitive damages instruction and reversed for a new trial on damages only. The facts of the case were that the witnesses estimated the speed of the defendant to be 50 miles per hour. The defendant said she was going 30-35 miles per hour. The speed limit was 30 miles per hour. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the defendant either ignored or failed to see the stop sign which was staring her in the face and made no effort to stop at the intersection or to even check the speed of the vehicle she was behind. It was in broad open daylight, there was nothing to obstruct her vision and she wholly failed to see the plaintiff s pickup truck until it was directly in front of her. We think under this case that the question of whether plaintiff was entitled to recover punitive damages should have been submitted to the jury. The Court cited Hadad v. Lockeby. 169 So. 691 (Miss. 1936) for the definition of punitive damages as follows: “Punitive damages may be recovered not only for a willful and intentional wrong, but for such gross and reckless neglect as is equivalent to such a wrong, since an act done in the spirit of wantonness and recklessness is oftentimes just as harmful as if prompted by malice.” The Court also cited Teche Lines. Inc. v. Pope. 166 So. 539 (Miss. 1936), for the definition of gross negligence: “Gross negligence is that course of conduct which, under the particular circumstances, discloses a reckless indifference to consequences without the exertion of any substantial effort to avoid them.” The Court then cited Wilson v. State. 161 So. 744 (Miss. 1930), wherein the Supreme Court affirmed a manslaughter conviction, for culpable negligence, upon facts in which the negligence is no more culpable than in the case now before us. Id at 645.
Also see, Teche Lines. Inc. v. Pope. 166 So. 539 (Miss. 1936) (bus driver who failed to attempt to stop his bus until 10 feet from railroad crossing, held grossly negligent).The facts in this case are that the bus driver was driving his bus which was 30 feet long, weighed 10 tons, and had a 39 passenger seating capacity; the bus driver was traveling 25 miles per hour and approached the railroad crossing. The bus driver failed to stop until he was about 10 feet from the crossing, resulting in a disastrous collision and serious and permanent injuries to plaintiff who was a passenger on the bus.
Hadad v. Lockeby, 169 So. 691 (Miss. 1936) (award of punitive damages is affirmed for defendant driving 35-40 miles per hour in a 20 miles per hour speed zone without sounding his horn or giving any warning of his approach; he saw some pedestrians and struck them anyway). The defendant had three eyewitnesses who testified that the defendant sounded his horn and slowed his speed. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the defendant was driving his car at an excessive rate of speed, that he saw the plaintiff crossing the road and failed to slow his speed or sound his horn or give any warning until the accident. These facts if true constitute gross negligence on the part of the defendant. It is interesting to note the words of wisdom offered by the Hadad Supreme Court: “These machines upon the highways are extremely dangerous to others using the highways. The lives and limbs of persons should be safeguarded, and something should be done to reduce accidents to a minimum.” Id. at 694.
Southland Broadcasting Co. v. Tracy, 50 So.2d 572 (Miss. 1951) (jury authorized in finding that driver’s negligence was so wanton and reckless as to justify the infliction of punitive damages for speeding, failing to negotiate a turn, leaving the highway, and traveling approximately 720 feet after leaving the highway.)
Collins v. Black. 380 So.2d 241 (Miss. 1980) (Supreme Court reinstated jury verdict for punitive damages against defendant who was driving at an unreasonable rate of speed, on the wrong side of the road, and failed to stop after the collision.) The conduct of a driver of a vehicle in failing to stop after the accident when taken in connection with all the circumstances may authorize a finding of a lack of care, conscious indifference to the consequences, and aggravating circumstances authorizing the recovery of punitive damages.
So if you have a question about your 18 wheeler or other accident case which may justify punitive damages, give me a call or email me. 601-969-1977 paul snow.jpg







I have just updated my home page to include jury instructions for all aspects of a plaintiff’s trial practice. If you have any interest in using any of these instructions, fell free to download and/or copy. They are located under “referring attorney resources”. If it doesn’t open,you may need to try a different browser.

Call me if you have any questions about your particular case.paul snow.jpg







A verdict of $1,500,000 was awarded against a drunk driver, Richard N. Kennedy, who drove on the wrong side of the road and hit the Plaintiff’s vehicle head on causing the death of a 2 year old boy, Caynen Woodward, and injuring his sister,Haley Woodward, and father, Brandon Woodward.

The accident happened on New Year’s Eve night about midnight on 2009, on Highway 98 near Foxworth, MS. The defendant plead guilty to negligent manslaughter in causing the death of Caynen while driving drunk.

My law firm with mike ratcliff and bill jones are handling this case. The drunk driver’s insurance company failed to pay their policy limits after being requested to pay the same within a reasonable time by our law firm. When the case didn’t settle, suit was filed and now the insurance company has a large excess exposure. If adjusters would just do what is right and act fairly, then their insurance company wouldn’t be in the position that they are in at the present time.

A lawsuit will be filed against the insurance company to collect the excess judgment,plus attorney fees and court costs and interest.

I will keep you informed as to future developments. Stay tuned!

Paul Snow

A minor was killed after some of the alcohol vendors allegedly sold alcohol to underage drinkers at the Gulfport Music Festival last weekend. No one checked for proof of age in order to buy beer and beer was sold to the minors who attended the concert. Driving and minors don’t mix.

The family of the minor who was killed in the accident can make a claim against the alcohol vendors who sold alcohol to the minors which contributed to the car accident.Also, the promoter of the concert may be sued if you can prove he was in control or aware of the alcohol being sold to the minors.

My law firm handled a case similar to this one when some minors went to a Hank Williams Jr. concert in Memphis TN and alcohol was sold to the minors which contributed to a car wreck killing a young woman on her 18th birthday. We sued the alcohol providers, the concert promoter, the driver, the lawyer who let the statute of limitations run in TN, and other defendants involved in the concert. We were able to get a substantial settlement that was acceptable to the family of the woman killed in the accident.75579_drunk_driving.jpg

If you know of someone who was injured or killed as a result of someone selling alcohol to a minor which contributed to an accident and want to discuss your case FREE of charge, call Paul Snow at 601-969-1977 or contact us online.

We represent clients all over Mississippi including Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula, Jackson, Southaven, Hattiesburg, Vicksburg and Meridian. Call now before it is too late.

A MSU student was killed in a one vehicle accident on May 9th, 2012, at the intersection of Oktoc and Skinner Roads. The Oktibbeha county sheriff’s office investigated the accident and found a 1999 Ford Explorer overturned in the woods.Six passengers were injured in the accident, three are in critical condition and were transferred to CCU in Jackson and Tupelo. Treasure K Huffman, a sophomore from Starkville, was killed in the accident. According to the investigation, it appears that alcohol was involved but Ms. Huffman was not under the influence of alcohol.75579_drunk_driving.jpg


Of course, the family of Ms. Huffman can make a claim against the driver of the vehicle and the business who sold the alcohol to any minors;also, anyone who was injured can make the same claim. If a business sells alcohol to a minor and then a wreck happens, then that business may be sued for contributing to the car accident.

There may be limited insurance available, therefore it is important for anyone who wants to make a claim, to contact a Mississippi Accident Attorney as soon as possible. Sometimes the insurance companies pay out on a first come, first served basis. Once the limits are exhausted, then there is no more money to pay out.

Claims can also be made for underinsured and medical pay benefits.

If you would like to discuss your case FREE of charge, call Paul Snow at 601-969-1977 or contact us online. We do not charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Don’t wait until it is too late, call now.paul snow.jpg







Circuit Judge Charles Webster has ruled that the limits on jury verdicts are unconstitutional because the legislature has no authority to interfere with the judicial branch of the government as found in our MS Constitution. american flag.jpg

A copy of the opinion can be viewed by clicking on the link here.

God bless Judge Webster and God bless our great state of Mississippi and its fine citizens!
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A drunk driver was given a 20 year sentence with 10 years suspended for causing a drunk driving accident on august 5th,2010 in Bat St. Louis, MS. Robin Lee Vo from Hancock county, MS was given the sentence this week in circuit court. The accident was caused when Vo was driving erratically then crossed over the center line and hit a 47 year old man riding his bike. The injured victim incurred over $4000,000 of medical bills and can no longer walk as a result of the accident.75579_drunk_driving.jpg

A claim can be made against the drunk driver’s insurance company for causing the accident. If there were no insurance on the drunk driver, then the injured victim can make a claim against their own insurance company for uninsured and medical pay benefits. They can stack or add all of their cars together on the policy in order to get more coverage for this tragic accident.

Additionally, a claim can be made against the bar, grocery store or package liquor store that sold the alcohol to the drunk driver. This is called liquor liability or dram shop law which states that the alcohol provider can be liable if they sold alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who then caused an accident.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an accident, you should consult an experienced ms accident injury attorney. Our law firm is a mississippi accident injury law firm which handles all types of accident cases involving car, truck, motorcycle, bike, tractor-trailer, and drunk driving accidents.

We represent clients all over MS including the following counties: hinds, madison, rankin, copiah, warren desoto, lee, washington, claiborne, simpson, pike, lamar, forest, hancock, jackson, marion, lauderdale,yazoo, holmes, lowndes, oktibbeha and leflore.

Call now to discuss your case FREE of charge. We handle injury and accident cases on a contingency fee basis which means that you only pay for our services if we obtain a recovery for you. Call Paul paul snow.jpgSnow your MS accident injury lawyer now at 601-969-1977 or contact us online by clicking here.





A Long Beach woman was killed in an accident involving an 18 wheeler near Gulfport, Mississippi on April 3rd, 2011. The accident involved a multi-car pileup on I-10 East near exit 34. The driver of the Toyota Camry, Morgan Moss of Houston, Texas and his passenger, Lauren Ashley Young, went to New Orleans that night and were returning home when the accidents happened. Ms. Young was pronounced dead at the scene according to the coroner. Five other people were injured and taken to Gulfport Memorial hospital.18 wheeler.jpg


The family of Ms. Young may make a claim against the driver of the Toyota if he failed to keep his vehicle under control. Also, if Mr. Moss were intoxicated, then a claim may be made against the bar that served the alcohol to Mr. Moss. This is called “Liquor Liability”. The law allows you to make a claim against the alcohol provider if they sold or served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person if they were 21 years old or older; or anyone under 21 years old whether visibly intoxicated or not. They also may make a claim against their own car insurance company for uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits and medical pay benefits. Uninsured benefits apply if no one had insurance and underinsured benefits apply if there is not enough insurance to pay for all of the damages. Finally, a claim may be made against the 18 wheeler company or the driver of the other car if either of those drivers contributed to the accidents in any way whatsoever. In other words, if a driver’s careless driving contributes to an accident just 1%, then their insurance company may be liable for some of the damages.

Mr. Moss may make a claim against any other driver whose negligence contributed to the accident even though he may have been drinking. The other side would have to prove that the alcohol contributed to the accident before it could be admissible at trial. If the jury found that the alcohol did contribute to the accident, then Mr. Moss could still recover some of his damages, but his award would be reduced by the amount of his negligence found by the jury.75579_drunk_driving.jpg

Any other drivers who were injured can make a claim against any driver who they can prove was negligent in the accident which proximately caused damages to them.

As you can see, this is a complex accident and a MS accident attorney with many years of experience should be consulted in this matter.The law offices of Paul Snow represents clients who have suffered serious injuries and the families of people who have lost a loved one in car/truck/motor vehicle accidents all over Mississippi, including Gulfport, Jackson, Biloxi, Hattiesburg, Greenville, Meridian, Tupelo, Southaven, Vicksburg, and Pascagoula. No matter how complex the case is, we are here to serve you. If you need a personal injury attorney, contact Paul Snow by calling 601-969-1977 or 1-800-640-4478 or contact us online.