Tiger Woods on wrongful death lawsuit: ‘We’re all very sad’ over employee’s death
Correction and clarification: A previous version of this story included an incorrect blood alcohol concentration for Nicholas Immesberger. It was .256.
Tiger Woods expressed condolences from Bethpage Black for a 24-year-old restaurant employee who died in a drunken crash in December. At the same time Tuesday, the parents of the deceased bartender spoke at a news conference about the wrongful death lawsuit they brought against the 15-time major winner.
“Well, we're all very sad that Nick passed away,” Woods told reporters from the site of the 101st PGA Championship in Farmingdale, N.Y. “It was a terrible night, a terrible ending, and we feel bad for him and his entire family. It's very sad.”
Woods and girlfriend Erica Herman, the general manager of Woods’ Florida restaurant, were listed as defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County, Florida, on Monday by the parents of Nicholas Immesberger. The lawsuit claims Immesberger was over-served before the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette he drove was involved in a single-car accident about 15 miles north of The Woods.
Tiger Woods expressed condolences over 24-year-old bartender's death Tuesday. (Photo: John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports)
Immesberger had an estimated blood alcohol concentration of .256 — more than three times the legal limit — at the time of the fatal crash, according to the lawsuit.
“Nick was a good kid, a funny kid,” said Scott Duchene, Immesberger’s father. “He had a lot of drive and he was taken away from us. I feel he should still be here with us. I’m just very disappointed in this whole situation.”
Woods was not at the restaurant at the same time as Immesberger on Dec. 10, according to family attorney Spencer T. Kuvin. Immesberger drank for about three hours after his shift before he left the restaurant, according to the lawsuit.
Even though he wasn’t present, Woods could potentially be held liable under Florida law if a foreseeable risk of injury or death occurs due to over-serving somebody with a known history of alcohol abuse issues.
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Kuvin said those issues were apparent to everyone at The Woods, including Woods.
Woods and Herman sat at the bar with Immesberger “only nights before” the fatal wreck, Kuvin said. Immesberger had to be picked up by his sister “because he could barely walk” and Immesberger knocked over “an entire tray of glasses.”
“Both Erica and Tiger are responsible because they had knowledge,” Kuvin said.
Woods played in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas from Nov. 30-Dec. 3 before he traveled to Australia for a Presidents Cup scouting trip. He left Australia on Dec. 7.
Kuvin alleged the somebody at The Woods destroyed footage of Immesberger drinking at the bar after his fatal crash.
“One of the most significant issues we have here is the destruction of evidence,” Kuvin said. “Obviously, it shows that somebody knew something had gone wrong and they wanted to get rid of that evidence.”
The lawsuit seeks "in excess of" $15,000, which is jurisdictional limit for the court.
Asked if being a bartender was an appropriate career choice for somebody with an alcohol addiction, Kuvin said "it clearly wasn't the best job for this young man."
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