A D.C. Superior Court jury this week found the owners of a former Adams Morgan nightclub negligent for serving a customer too many drinks before the customer got into her car and fatally struck a pedestrian in 2010.
After a week-long trial, the jury Tuesdayfound the District Lounge and Bar and its owner negligent and ordered it to pay $1 million in the death of Julia Bachleitner. Bachleitner, 26, an Austrian student who was attending graduate school at Johns Hopkins University, was trying to cross near 18th and U Streets in Adams Morgan when a Dodge Charger driven by Chamica Adams, 25, of Mitchellville, Md. struck her. Adams, authorities said, had been drinking at the District Lounge prior to the incident. The club, which is now shut down, was located in the 2400 block of 18th Street NW. Club owners at the time had argued that Adams had been drinking prior to arriving at their club after police found an almost empty bottle of Grand Marnier in her glove box.
In the lawsuit on behalf of Bachleitner’s family, the family’s attorney, Gabriel Assaad, argued that during an open bar happy hour, the club’s bartender served Adams five drinks within 40 minutes, which, the attorneys argued, resulted in Adams’s blood level being nearly twice the legal driving limit in the District.
Adams later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and in 2011 was sentenced to nearly three and a half years in prison. Bachleitner’s family also sued Adams, but that part of the case was settled, Assaad said.