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Nelson and MacNeil File Lawsuit Against Drunk Driver and Local Taverns

CORVALLIS – A $5 million dollar personal injury lawsuit was filed earlier this month in Benton County
against Shane Michael Chambers, and a pair of Corvallis taverns, Murphy’s Tavern and the Corvallis Sports Park. The lawsuit cites violations of safety laws preventing businesses from serving visibly intoxicated patrons.

The lawsuit alleges that on the evening of March 10, 2010, Chambers was served alcohol at both Murphy’s Tavern and the Corvallis Sports Park while he was visibly intoxicated. According to the police report, shortly after leaving Murphy’s Tavern, Chambers caused a head-on collision by driving his Jeep SUV across the centerline of highway 99, striking a car driven by Larry Ragsdale. Chambers’ blood alcohol content would register .199 percent 5 hours after the collision.

“Laws that prevent bars from serving visibly intoxicated people are one of the safety nets in place to keep us, our neighbors, and our families safe from tragedies like this,” said Dan Rayfield, one of the attorneys at Nelson & MacNeil representing Ragsdale and his family. “If everyone followed these simple safety rules there would be less drunk-driving accidents each year,” Rayfield said.

According to the lawsuit, Ragsdale is now permanently disabled, suffering from brain damage and partial paralysis preventing him from walking and talking normally. The lawsuit asks for $1.4 million for medical bills incurred, $850,000 for future medical bills, $750,000 for impaired earning capacity, and $2 million for permanent injuries, pain, and interference with his normal lifestyle.

“We as individuals have the ability increase safety in our communities by holding people and businesses accountable for violations of these and other safety laws,” Rayfield said. On March 10, 2011, exactly one year after the crash, Chambers pled guilty to assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants. He is currently serving a 40-month prison sentence.