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Sonoma Valley Winery Settles Teen DUI Case for $3 M

By Minara El-Rahman on December 15, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A Sonoma Valley winery called Paradise Ridge Winery has agreed to pay $3 million dollars in order to settle a lawsuit over a teen DUI car accident back in 2006. The Press Democrat reports that Mr. Joshua Apodaca sustained serious brain injuries in the car accident. Mr Joshua was a passenger of a car driven by Mr. Sean Bradley who was served beer at a wedding held at the Sonoma Valley winery. As a result, Mr. Apodaca is permanently disabled.

The teens attended a wedding at Paradise Ridge Winery where a bartender served the teen driver six to eight beers even though Mr. Bradley did not show the bartender any identification. Mr. Bradley claimed that he left his identification in the car. After Mr. Bradley and Mr. Apodaca left the reception, they stopped at a local 7-Eleven where Mr. Bradley bought two more alcoholic beverages. The car crash happened shortly after.

The terms of the settlement were that the winery will pay $3 million, 7-Eleven will pay $500,000 and Bradley will pay about $105,000. The money will be used to pay for the cost of life-time care for Apodaca, buy him a house equipped for the disabled and pay more than $1.1 million in attorney fees.

The settlement amounts will be paid out by the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group for the Sonoma Valley winery, the car insurance company for the Bradleys, and 7-Eleven's corporate indemnity policy will cover the 7-Eleven owners.

Typically, California does not have per se dram shop laws. Bars, wineries and other licensed alcohol purveyors are not held responsible for the actions of their patrons, but this lawsuit dealt with a teen DUI which is an exception to this rule. For more information about teen DUIs, or DUIs in general, please visit our Related Resources links.

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