Mid-Day Moldy Ethics Snack, 5/8/2019: Bad Charge, Bad School, Bad Father


1. Do something, blame someone…In Plano, Texas, police have charged Lindsey Glass with violating a law making it a misdemeanor to negligently sell alcohol to a “habitual drunkard or an intoxicated or insane person,.” It seems she served Spencer Hight two gins, two beers and a shot of alcohol during two visits to the bar where she was working in September 2017, before Hight killed Meredith Hight and seven other people. After  police officers shot and killed him, an autopsy found that Hight’s blood alcohol level was about four times the legal limit. The  arrest affidavit said surveillance video shows  that Hight was unsteady, spun a “big knife on the bar,” and could be seen “pulling out a gun” from his waistband.

It’s a terrible charge, and an unethical prosecution.  Glass  texted a co-worker, another bartender, saying that Hight had been spinning the knife and told her had had to go “do some dirty work.” A report by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said  that the other bartender had called an owner of the bar, who instructed that  police should not be called. Glass was so concerned that followed Hight to his ex-wife’s home and then called 911, according to local station  Fox 4.

A lawyer for Glass emphasized  that his client had called 911 and said she had been commended by police. “It is shameful of the Plano Police Department to go after the person who was vital in trying to stop the horrific events of that evening,” he told Fox 4 and NBC in a statement. Exactly right. Police, spurred by public anger and frustration, want to find someone to blame. The fact that the drunk  went off and killed eight people is pure moral luck. It seems that the bartender went above and beyond her civic duty, at some personal risk, to follow Hight. She was originally commended by police for her actions. [Pointer: ABA Journal]
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The Drunk, the Bar and the Missing ID

I’ve been considering starting a continuing category for unethical law suits, but what interests me about this story is that it coincides with a sudden flurry of new comments on the Shannon Stone post. That concerned the man who fell to his death at a Texas Rangers game last summer after lunging to catch a foul ball for his son. My post argued that when someone does something unequivocally reckless and foolish that leads to his injury and death,  it may be legally advantageous to sue third parties for not anticipating the situation and providing prophylactic safety measures, but is unethical to do so.

It was not one of my more popular posts.

This story, from South Carolina, raises a similar issue. Paraplegic Chelsea Hess is suing Jock’s Sports Grill  because the bartender failed to check her ID and didn’t determine whether she was already intoxicated when, at the age of 20 (in 2009), she drank, drove, and crashed her car, causing her current condition. Hess is also suing the state Department of Transportation, saying the agency failed to properly maintain the shoulder of the road where her car crashed. Continue reading