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Brain-Damaged Driver Accepts $1.85M To Settle Dram-Shop Suit in Middlesex

A Califon man who alleged to have suffered a brain injury in a car crash agreed on Nov. 5 to accept $1.85 million to settle his Middlesex County dram-shop suit. Cozze v Doherty Enterprises, Inc.

Marcos Cozze claimed he was served nine drinks at Applebee's in Hackettstown on July 20, 2007. The restaurant said he was served only four.

After leaving Applebee's, Cozze drove to a party at a friend's house in Washington Township, Warren County. He claimed he did not drink at the party, through a defense witness said he did.

After a party, Cozze drove through a red light at Route 57 and Millbrook Road and hit a truck at a high rate of speed, causing it to overturn and catch on fire injuring its driver.

Cozze suffered a closed-head injury in the crash. Now 24, he suffers cognitive deficits and has been unable to continue in his former job as a laborer for a paving company, says his attorney, Union solo Martin Kronberg.

Cozze sued the Applebee'e franchisee, Doherty Enterprises of Allendale, and the two subsidiaries, claiming the staff served him drinks when he was visibly intoxicated.

The restaurants attorneys, Thomas Mulcahy of Purcell, Mulcahy, O'Neill & Hawkins in Bedminster, and Robert Devine of White & Williams in Cherry Hill, contended that Cozze drank at the party or some other location after he left Applebee's. But the nonetheless settled for $1.85 million on Nov 5, which was the eve of trial. Mulcahy and Devine did not return calls about the case.

Source:  New Jersey Law Journal, November 22, 2010. By Charles Toutant

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