On May 8, 2009, a Lehigh County civil jury ruled that J.P. O'Malley's Pub was negligent in the death of my daughter, Sheena Villa.
The jury stopped short of assigning to O'Malley's any causal responsibility for Sheena's death. But after hearing compelling testimony that described O'Malley's as a drinking establishment out of control, and with a "manager" who did not know what percentage of O'Malley's business was food and what percentage was alcohol, the jury ruled that O'Malley's was negligent in Sheena's death, based on how much alcohol they had served Robert LaBarre that fateful night on two separate visits, hours apart-- i.e., O'Malley's should have known how inebriated and impaired and legally drunk LaBarre was after he left the bar for the first time that night, and serving him again when he returned hours later was negligent, regardless of how LaBarre may have appeared to be "holding his liquor" or not.
Nailing O'Malley's with negligence was an important ruling and victory for us-- more important than also being awarded $3.1 million in compensatory and punitive damages by the same jury that day.
We knew that J.P. O'Malley's had been cited by the PLCB as a nuisance bar a year after Sheena's death. Obviously, O'Malley's had learned nothing from Sheena's death. And just as obviously, there was little chance that hard-drinking DA Jim Martin would ever shut O'Malley's or any other nuisance bar down. Robert LaBarre was serving his punishment, in state prison. So now it was O'Malley's turn. We sued O'Malley's in civil court, and we won.
But you'd never get the impression that "we won" from reading the deceit-laden account in The Morning Call "newspaper" dated May 9, 2009 ... and don't be fooled by the 5/16/2009 "For The Record" correction that's tacked on there; more on this time-traveling deceit later.
According to The Morning Call "newspaper," May 9, 2009 ...
* "The jury found the bar ... J.P. O'Malley's Pub ... had no role in Villa's death" [Fact: The jury ruled O'Malley's was NEGLIGENT in Sheena's death]
* "The bar had closed during the trial, but owner Chris LaCroix said now that it has been cleared, it will reopen." [Fact: O'Malley's closed right before the trial started and has never re-opened]
* "Chris LaCroix (O'Malley's owner) said, "It's good that we cleared our good name." [Fact: O'Malley's had a PLCB-cited bad name, "Nuisance Bar"]
O'Malley's had also been cited (but not by The Morning Call on May 9, 2009) for ...
Chris LaCroix (O'Malley's owner) said, "It's just a shame because they'll never see a dime ..." [Fact: a confidential agreement prohibits Sheena's family from discussing the disbursement details of the jury's $3.1 million damages award to us so please connect the fairly obvious dots yourself]
As you might imagine (and as we're sure the "newspaper" had intended), we were really pissed off about The Morning Call's wildly inaccurate "reporting" on the outcome of our civil trial that depicted out-of-business O'Malley's as the redeemed (and "not negligent") winner. And don't forget, these were the same cold-hearted bastards who had helpfully headline-misdirected Robert LaBarre's stiff sentencing outcome with: DUI CRASH VICTIM PREGNANT. So I started emailing and calling Morning Call assistant managing editor Mike Miorelli immediately, pushing for a correction and clarification. And really, should I have had to push for it? Turns out I did. But it didn't help any.
It took the "newspaper" 30 days (a month) and numerous requests from Sheena's family to finally publish a correction on June 9, 2009 ... but in keeping w/ their long-standing mean spiritedness against Sheena's family, the "newspaper" maintained an alternate, un-corrected account at The Morning Call's website until June 16, 2009 and in its archives to this day that continues to lie (see "not negligent," paragraph 12) about the jury's actual verdict. [Note: The Morning Call's "correction" notice dated "June 9, 2009" on this article was, in fact, deceitfully retro-fitted in there sometime after this blog post was published, i.e., a year and a half after "June 9, 2009," i.e., on or after January 14, 2011.]
Ditto the "5/16/2009 For The Record" correction that's tacked onto their wildly inaccurate May 9, 2009 account ... that "5/16/2009" correction notification was deceitfully retro-fitted in there some time after June 9, 2009 to cover their lying asses.
I have an email from Mike Miorelli telling me he hopes I get the psychiatric help I need which is more wildly inaccurate bullshit "reporting" from The Morning Call "newspaper."
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