CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Supreme Court will not hear again a case involving whether bartenders can be held liable for the actions of their patrons.
The Supreme Court decided 3-2 earlier this month that bartenders can not be held liable. In doing so, they rejected the arguments of the family of John Douglas Greenwalt.
Quay Sampsell has been serving two consecutive prison sentences of six to 10 years for causing the deaths of Greenwalt, 20, and his girlfriend, Jennifer Rosner, 19, on May 13, 1999. The crash happened when Sampsell, then 21, sped through an intersection after a night of drinking at a sports bar, C.B. & Potts.
"I'm really disappointed and, you know, our Supreme Court is going to continue to put people at risk with drunken drivers on the road," Dean Greenwalt said.
But the Greenwalts' attorney, Jack Speight, said the decision was not a surprise. "I owed it to our clients and to parents similarly situated, (such as) the eight UW athletes, in petitioning the court to reconsider their thinking," he said.
He was referring to the eight University of Wyoming track and cross-country runners killed by a drunken driver on U.S. 287 south of Laramie in September 2001.
The Greenwalts have lobbied the Legislature to change the state's DUI law and on the issue of tort reform.
"We'll probably continue to try and change laws," Dean Greenwalt said. "As far as other action we can take, we haven't had a chance to sit down with (Speight) yet."
C.B. & Potts attorney Tom Gorman did not return calls Friday. After the earlier Supreme Court ruling, he said the responsibility for drunken driving accidents lies not with the bartender or bar owner but with the driver.
"That's who is in the best position to determine," he said. "How do you know otherwise?"
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