Bartender in Woods lawsuit was high on pot, stole alcohol before crash, lawyers claim

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28: Tiger Woods of the United States watches on with girlfriend Erica Herman during the afternoon foursome matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 28, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images) Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Bartender in Woods lawsuit was high on pot, stole alcohol before crash, lawyers claim

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Bartender in Woods lawsuit was high on pot, stole alcohol before crash, lawyers claim

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Nicholas F. Immesberger, the bartender who worked at Tiger Woods’ restaurant in Jupiter, Fla., was “excessively intoxicated” by marijuana in addition to alcohol before his fatal crash last December, according to papers filed by Woods’ attorneys.

The parents of Immesberger sued Woods, his girlfriend Erica Herman, and the restaurant in May but dropped Woods from the suit in June.

Herman, who is general manager of the restaurant, and The Woods remain as defendants in the civil suit.

According to a series of answers provided by Herman and The Woods through their attorneys to Immesberger’s team on Monday in Palm Beach County, Fla., Nicholas Immesberger had a Delta-9-THC level of 13.3 ng/mL at the time of his death, which was more than five times the reporting limit.

Immesberger’s marijuana level was determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office of District 19 in Fort Pierce, Fla., the papers said.

Woods’ attorneys used that to open their first of 15 affirmative defenses in the pleading.

Immesberger was driving a 1999 Corvette without wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash, and the airbag on the car, owned by James Immesberger, failed to deploy, the attorneys said.

Woods’ attorneys further allege that Immesberger “used his position as a bartender to take alcohol from this Defendant for his own consumption without paying for it and against this Defendant’s policies, to become excessively intoxicated before he decided to drive himself on December 10, 2018.”

They claim that their clients – both Herman and The Woods – should not be liable for serving Immesberger because he took alcoholic drinks without paying for them.

The surveillance tape of the day in question has been destroyed. Woods’ attorneys say they did not receive a request to preserve the restaurant’s surveillance tape from Dec. 10 until Feb. 19, even though Immesberger’s attorneys had been investigating the crash since Jan. 8.

They claim the video would was “vital evidence” and “would definitely show that Nicholas F. Immesberger was not served alcohol by this Defendant.”

As previously reported, Immesberger, 24, had an estimated blood alcohol level of 0.256 — more than three times the legal limit in Florida — when the Corvette he was driving left Federal Highway and overturned at about 6 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2018.

Florida’s Dram Shop Law says only establishments that knowingly serve a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such minor or person.

In the third affirmative defense issued by Woods’ attorneys, they state because Immesberger had used marijuana his “normal faculties were impaired” and he was “more than 50 percent at fault” for his own death. Thus, the Dram Shop Law should not apply in his case, they claimed.

Woods’ attorneys further claim that neither Immesberger’s parents nor their attorneys “did anything to keep the car from being scrapped or destroyed after the crash occurred.”

The Woods is seeking a jury trial.

A motion to dismiss Herman from the lawsuit is currently scheduled for Sept. 27 and mediation in the case is set for Oct. 29.

The wrongful death suit was filed by the firm of Craig Goldenfarb of Palm Beach on behalf of Scott Duchene, Immesberger’s father, his mother Mary Belowsky and Immesberger’s estate. Herman and The Woods are represented by Barry Postman and Rico D. Lively of Cole, Scott and Kissane.

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