Civil suit filed against Library Bar after Bakdash sentence

Civil suit filed against Library Bar and Grill after Bakdash sentence

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Timothy Bakdash is already serving his sentence for the drunken rampage that killed a University of Minnesota senior, but now the bar that served him booze is facing a new civil suit.

There is no question that Bakdash was drunk when he drove up on the sidewalk and struck Ben Van Handel. For that crime, he is now serving 40 years in prison.

Now, the victim's family is setting their sights on where he spent his time before getting behind the wheel by suing the Library Bar and Grill for knowingly over-serving someone who was obviously intoxicated.

"It's not about whether Bakdash has paid his debt to society," said attorney Paul McEllistrem. "it's not about that. This case is about what did the Library do, and what should the consequences of what they did be."

This is the second civil suit filed against the Library. A pedestrian who was injured in the crash is also seeking damages.

Bakdash testified that he had about 15 drinks in the three to four hours before bar close. That averages out to about one drink every 10 to 15 minutes.

"You don't have to be a trained toxicologist to figure out, 'I just gave this guy a drink and now he's ordering shots,'" said McEllistrem. "That's too much."

Law professor Mike Steenson said bars can be held responsible for failing to cut someone off, but it's not an all-or-nothing case.

"The notion is that bars [that] provide alcohol have to be responsible for doing so," he explained.

Clearly, Bakdash was held responsible for his role in the fatal crash, but the bar can also be held liable for their percentage of the responsibility.

No amount of money will bring back Van Handel, but his family says they are hoping to put an end to the happy-hour culture that led to his death.

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