United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
Paul D. Casey, Individually and as administrator of the Estate of Patrick D. Casey, and Abigail O. Casey, Appellants
McDonald's Corporation, et al., Appellees
October 3, 2017
from the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia (No. 1:13-cv-01452)
Brendan J. Klaproth argued the cause and filed the briefs for
J. Bottiglieri argued the cause for appellees McDonald's
Corporation, Inc., et al. D. Stephenson Schwinn argued the
cause for appellee RAH of Washington, D.C., Inc. With them on
the brief were Andrew Butz, Michael L. Pivor, and Dominic G.
Before: Rogers, Kavanaugh, and Wilkins, Circuit Judges.
Kavanaugh, Circuit Judge
case arose out of a drunken brawl, a not-uncommon occurrence
late at night outside of D.C. bars. But this fight had an
uncommon and tragic ending: someone died.
parents of the victim sued under D.C. tort law and named a
variety of defendants, including as relevant here: (i) two
bars that served alcohol to the assailant even after he
allegedly was already visibly intoxicated; and (ii) the
fast-food restaurant (McDonald's) where the altercation
began. The District Court dismissed the claims against the
bars and granted summary judgment to McDonald's.
on D.C. precedent, we conclude that the allegations, if true,
state a claim against the bars under D.C. law. We therefore
reverse the District Court's dismissal of the Caseys'
claims against the two bars. We conclude that the claims
against McDonald's are unavailing as a matter of law. We
therefore affirm the District Court's grant of summary
judgment to McDonald's. We remand for further proceedings
consistent with this opinion.
McDonald's fast-food restaurant at 19th and M Streets,
N.W., in Washington, D.C., is open 24 hours a day. Like many
fast-food restaurants and diners, that McDonald's serves
an influx of sometimes drunk customers on Friday and Saturday
a Friday night of bar hopping in September 2011, two groups
of men began exchanging words with each other at the M Street
McDonald's. Jason Ward was in one group, and Patrick
Casey was in the other. The men eventually ended up just
outside the restaurant, on the sidewalk. At that point, Jason
Ward punched Patrick Casey. Casey fell to the ground and hit
his head on the sidewalk. Casey was taken to a local
days after the fight, while still in the hospital, Casey
Casey's parents sued. They brought D.C. tort claims
against Ward and two of his friends who were part of the
fight at McDonald's; against several bars that served
Ward and his friends on the night of the fight; and against
Kyung Rhee (the owner of the M Street McDonald's) and the
point, the only remaining defendants are: (i) two bars, Ozio
and Camelot, and (ii) Kyung Rhee and the McDonald's
Corporation, whom we will refer to collectively as
the two bars, the Caseys argue that the bars violated D.C.
Code § 25-781 and therefore were negligent per se. That
provision of D.C. law prohibits serving alcohol to already
intoxicated persons. The Caseys allege that the bars served
Ward and his friends even though the men were already visibly
intoxicated. The Caseys further allege that the bars'
negligence caused Patrick Casey's death. The District
Court dismissed the tort claims ...