Gunplay Wrongful Death Verdict

Estate of Tyler Baker v. Croslin, Multnomah County Case No. 1106-07278

In 2010 Mr. Baker was at a party hosted by Mr. Croslin and attended by Mr. Smith.  All three men were armed. All three men were drinking. During the night they began practicing hold–up and quick-draw scenarios.  During one of these scenarios, Smith fired a round that hit and killed Baker.  Baker’s estate brought this lawsuit.  Initially the suit was against both Smith and Croslin.  During the pendency of the litigation Smith pled guilty in criminal court to criminally negligent homicide. Baker’s estate settled with Smith and proceeded only against Croslin.  The estate alleged that Croslin was liable for Baker’s death pursuant to ORS 471.565, Oregon’s social host liability law.  Specifically, they alleged that Croslin served Smith while he was visibly intoxicated, knowing that Smith was in possession of a loaded firearm. And, they argued that Croslin encouraged the gunplay and even participated in the loading of the firearms.  The estate sought $5,187.35 for funeral expenses, $29,777.45 for medical expenses, $2,080,000.00 for lost earnings minus consumption for the course of Baker’s life and $1.5 Million for non-economic damages.

Croslin argued that he did not “provide” alcohol to a visibly-intoxicated Smith. Croslin argued that Smith only consumed a small quantity of hosted alcohol before beginning to drink his own beverages and those supplied by Baker.

Plaintiff’s Counsel – Jan Kitchel

Defense Counsel – James Hiller

Verdict – Defense Verdict

Date – February 27, 2017

March 2, 2017

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