Wiggins v. Mobile Greyhound Park, LLPAnnotate this Case
Katerial Wiggins, individually and as the administrator of the estate of Dominic G. Turner, deceased, and as the next friend of Dominic Turner, Jr. ("D.T."), appealed the grant of summary in favor of Mobile Greyhound Park, LLP ("MGP") and Mobile Greyhound Racing, LLP ("MGR"). In 2015, a vehicle driven by Willie McMillian struck Wiggins' vehicle from behind on Interstate 10 in Mobile County. Wiggins's fiancé, Turner, and their child, D.T., were riding in the backseat of Wiggins' vehicle when the collision occurred. As a result, Turner died and Wiggins and D.T. were injured. After obtaining evidence indicating that McMillian was under the influence of alcohol, law-enforcement officers arrested McMillian. He later pleaded guilty to reckless murder and was sentenced to imprisonment for 15 years. Wiggins sued MGR and MGP alleging that on the day of the collision, MGR and MGP sold alcohol to McMillian at the dog-racing track while he was visibly intoxicated; she requested compensatory damages and punitive damages, pursuant to section 6-5-71, Ala. Code 1975 ("the Dram Shop Act"), for Turner's death and the injuries she and D.T. had sustained. MGR moved for a summary judgment in the dram-shop action and submitted evidence in support of its motion. Among other things, MGR argued that Wiggins had failed to present sufficient evidence indicating that McMillian had appeared "visibly intoxicated" while purchasing alcohol at the dog-racing track operated by MGR. MGP also moved for a summary judgment. In relevant part, MGP asserted that it was a limited partnership that owned a minority interest in MGR. MGP asserted that it was not responsible for the operation of the dog-racing track. The Alabama Supreme Court determined a genuine issue of material fact remained regarding whether McMillian appeared visibly intoxicated when purchasing alcohol from MGR on the night of the collision. The circuit court's summary judgment in favor of MGR was, therefore, reversed. To the extent that Wiggins sought to recover damages stemming from Turner's death under both the Dram Shop Act and the Wrongful Death Act, the circuit court's order granting MGR's motion to strike Wiggins's request for damages under the Wrongful Death Act was affirmed; Wiggins could recover only damages based on Turner's death under the provisions of the Dram Shop Act. Because Wiggins waived any challenge to the summary judgment in favor of MGP, the circuit court's decision in that regard was affirmed. The case was remanded for further proceedings.