The Front Porch bar in Troy and Beef O’Brady’s in Enterprise are denying being responsible for the death of Elizabeth “Farris” English.
On Sept. 25, 2017, Chris English, father to Farris English, filed a civil suit in Coffee County against Beef O’Brady’s and The Front Porch regarding the death of Farris English on Feb. 20, 2016. Enterprise is in Coffee County, and Troy is in Pike County.
Farris English, 19, of Elba was a sophomore at Enterprise-Ozark Community College. The legal drinking age in Alabama is 21.
In their formal answers to the lawsuit, both businesses deny most of the allegations brought against them in the complaint and demand proof from the plaintiff.
The plaintiff’s complaint, a case in the Coffee County Circuit Court, stated that The Front Porch and Beef O’Brady’s were in violation of Alabama Codes 6-5-70 and the Dram Shop Act, Alabama Code 6-5-71.
Alabama Code 6-5-70 states, “Parent of a minor … shall have a right of action against any person who unlawfully sells or furnishes spirituous liquors to such minor and may recover such damages as the jury may assess, provided the person selling or furnishing liquor to the minor had knowledge of or was chargeable with notice or knowledge of such minority.”
Alabama Code 6-5-71 part C states, “The party injured, or his legal representative, may commence a joint or separate action against the person intoxicated or the person who furnished the liquor, and all such claims shall be by civil action in any court having jurisdiction thereof.”
In its response to claims filed by plaintiff Chris English, The Front Porch “demands strict proof” of complaints regarding its involvement in the death of Farris.
The Front Porch alleges contributory negligence, which according to findlaw.com, means “that the injury occurred at least partially as a result of the plaintiff’s own actions.”
Farris English’s blood alcohol level was .144, according to the complaint.
Beef O’Brady’s answer said that there were intervening or supervening causes, apparently meaning that there were circumstances happening, between the time Farris English left Beef O’ Brady’s and she was killed, that contributed to her death.
According to the initial complaint filed by Chris English, Farris English, a male companion named Shane Barnhill and a female friend were at Beef O’Brady’s for “approximately two hours,” where they were served alcohol.
After the three departed from Beef O’ Brady’s, they traveled to The Front Porch bar in Troy, according to the complaint.
Farris English and Barnhill traveled to The Front Porch around 11 p.m., where Farris English was served alcoholic beverages, according to the complaint.
Barnhill left the bar and left the keys to his car with Farris English. She remained at the bar until they closed after midnight.
Farris English and another friend, Megan Thornton, left The Front Porch and went to a friend’s apartment in Troy, where they did not further consume any alcohol, according to the complaint.
Farris English and Thornton left the friend’s apartment around 3:15 a.m. to drive home to Elba, when she was involved in a two-vehicle collision causing the loss of her life, injuries to others and the loss of another life.
Both Beef O’Brady’s and The Front Porch’s responses state that there is an assumption of risk, apparently referring to Farris English’s knowledge that being clearly intoxicated and behind the wheel of a car would contribute to the potential for injury.