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Jury Holds “On the Border” Responsible for Drunk Driving of Employee


SAN DIEGO, CA – A Superior Court civil jury found On the Border restaurant liable for the negligence of one of its employees who left work, allegedly drunk, and injured Taiwanese exchange student Kay‐Yen Cheng. The jury awarded Cheng $1,546,618.27 in damages, on Friday, after a two‐week jury trial. The case arose out an automobile versus skateboard incident on December 9, 2012.

Mr. Cheng was represented by John H. Gomez, of Gomez Trial Attorneys, and Sean Foldenauer, of Foldenauer Law Group. They argued that On the Border’s employee negligently consumed alcohol in the course and scope of his employment, knowing he would later drive. Gomez and Foldenauer argued that because On the Border permitted its employees to drink after their shifts, that employee drinking at the restaurant had become customary, and that the restaurant benefited from its employees drinking at the restaurant, that the restaurant should be responsible for the harm caused by its allegedly drunk employee.

On the Border defended the case, arguing that because its employee was “clocked out” and paid for his own drinks, he was just like any other guest of the restaurant, and the company should not be held responsible for his actions.

After a two‐week jury trial, before the Honorable Richard Strauss, the jury agreed with Mr. Gomez and Mr. Foldenauer and found the employee was within the course and scope of his employment. The jury awarded past and future medical care as well as past and future pain and suffering to Mr. Cheng.

“Mr. Cheng unfortunately paid the price for the culture that had been created at On the Border,” states John Gomez. “This verdict will go a long way to making us safer. Employees providing co‐workers alcohol – knowing they will drive – is a bad idea for many obvious reasons. Work should be work, not a place to hang out and get drunk.”

“Responsible employers will now be forced to reduce the drunk driving problem,” continued Gomez. “This is a vitally important result for the protection of drivers on the road, and to let employers know that they may be held responsible if they allow their employees to drink and drive.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune – Full Article