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By Tim Stelloh
The parents of an alcoholic bartender who worked at Tiger Woods’ restaurant are blaming the athlete, his girlfriend and their employees for the December drunk-driving crash that killed the man.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday in circuit court in Palm Beach County, Florida, claims that even though employees, managers and owners of The Woods, the golfer’s bar and restaurant in Jupiter, knew that Nicholas Immesberger was an alcoholic, they plied him with drinks after his Dec. 10, 2018, shift.
He died that night in a deadly crash on his way home.
They “not only ignored Immesberger’s disease, they fueled it by over-serving him alcohol to the point of severe intoxication and then sending him out to his car,” the suit claims.
A lawyer and representative for Woods did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
After leaving The Woods at roughly 6 p.m., Immesberger crashed his Corvette and died, the suit says. His blood-alcohol level was .256, more than three times the legal limit.
The restaurant’s general manager — Woods’ girlfriend, Erica Herman — had recruited Immesberger to work as a bartender, the suit says. She and Woods had “direct knowledge” of Immesberger’s drinking problem, the suit claims, though it does not provide additional details.
“Despite this, they were drinking with Immesberger at The Woods bar only a few nights before the fatal crash,” the suit alleges.
The suit says that The Woods promoted drinking and encouraged employees to do so on the job. Before the deadly crash, the suit says, friends and relatives had repeatedly driven Immesberger home because he’d been “served so much alcohol that he was unable to function properly.”
A close friend of Immesberger’s warned workers to stop serving Immesberger, who a month before his death had crashed another car after heavy drinking, the suit says.
The suit, filed by Mary Katherine Belowsky and Scott Duchene, alleges that Herman and Woods are liable for knowingly serving an alcoholic. They are seeking damages over $15,000.