Throughout the nation there have been multiple lawsuits where alcohol use has been a factor on college campuses and in college towns. T-Town has had its share of lawsuits.
In T-Town, the wrongful death lawsuit against Terry J. Bunn Jr. over Alabama student Megan Rondini, which was settled in 2021, received a great deal of publicity. It had been alleged that the twenty year-old Rondini had been raped after being intoxicated or drugged. She reportedly had been picked up at a local bar by Bunn.
The mother of Schuyler Bradley filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Zachary Profozich and a Tuscaloosa bar, The Bear Trap, as reported by Al.com‘s Carol Robinson. Bradley was shot to death twenty-five minutes after Profozich had left the bar.. Allegedly the bar “continued to sell alcohol to Profozich even though he was visibly intoxicated.”
A recent lawsuit was reported by ABC 33/40‘s Ben Culpepper in which the Sigma Chi fraternity, Iota Iota and a current Alabama football player were named as the defendents. Culpepper wrote that a pledge Logan Herring had been given alcohol at a fratenity party even though he was underage at the time. Reputedly he was “negligently, wantonly, and recklessly kicked and punched [in] his head numerous times.”
Now, as reported by CBS 42‘s AJ Holliday, the Gray Lady bar is being sued by the parents of Garrett Walker for negligence and the wrongful death in the death of their son. Reputedly the bar had served Walker, even though he was underage, while he was intoxicated. Gray Lady employees reportedly even drank with him. Walker subsequently died from an accidental drowning in the Black Warrior River.
These lawsuits probably represent only the tip of the ice berg when it comes to alcohol related problems in T-Town. The enforcement of codes prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors has been considered difficult, in part due to the availability of hard to detect fake IDs. While the vast majority of University of Alabama students are minors, that hasn’t affected the proliferation of bars and gastropubs in T-Town. There must be a large market for student drinkers. On Saturday game days large crowds also complicate code enforcement.
There is a significant drinking social culture that exists for fraternities. The City of Tuscaloosa approves a prodigious number of “special events retail licenses” for Greek events each year. Some of the events, such as the “Dazed and Confused Event” take place on farmland that is outside of the city’s police jurisdiction.
Lawsuits in T-Town won’t undo the damage that results from alcohol use and probably won’t even deter future tragedies.The sale of alcohol is just too lucrative a business.