Attorney calls wrongful death suit against Husk 'legitimate'

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - It was around 4 a.m. on December 18th when 32-year-old Quentin Miller's life came to a screeching end. Now, his family is taking legal action against the downtown restaurant they say{}played a role in their son's tragic death.

Adam Burnell, an assistant manager for Husk Restaurant, was driving across the Ravenel Bridge when his car rear-ended Miller's mustang. The hit sent Miller's car spiraling across the bridge before bursting into flames.

Burnell, who{}was later charged with felony DUI, was{}working at Husk just hours before the crash.

Miller's family has filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful death and negligence among other things against{}Husk Restaurant, and one local attorney believes they have a case.

"A restaurant or a bar has a privilege to serve alcohol in the state of South Carolina," said David Yarborough, an attorney for Yarborough Applegate Law Firm. "You have to have a license. And, with that license comes responsibility. Whether you're serving that alcohol to your own employees or whether you're serving it to the general public."

Yarborough does not represent the Miller family but, has handled similar cases in the past.

"If they [the restaurant] have management on the scene or in the restaurant who knows that the employees are drinking, and getting intoxicated, either during work or after work, that certainly puts those people in a situation where they can go out and cause harm to the public," said Yarborough.

In South Carolina it is illegal to serve someone who appears to be intoxicated or underage, but there is no state legislation for people serving alcohol. Nor, is there state legislation that requires bartenders or restaurant managers to go through alcohol training.{}

And there is such a thing as alcohol training.{} It's called "TIPS."

"TIPS is a one day seminar that we offer to bars and restaurants. We go in and we train the staff to know what to look for if someone's had too much to drink," says Keith Purdy, a TIPS trainer.

The seminar also teaches staff that they can be held liable both civilly and criminally if someone has too much to drink and has an accident.

A representative for Husk Restaurant says all of it's employees, including servers, bartenders and managers are required to undergo alcohol training.

{}Nonetheless, Yarborough says a lawsuit of this nature is contingent upon proper supervision.

"It's not just if they knew the person was drunk, it's if they knew or should have known they were drunk," Yarborough said.