Earlier in the week the Astros blamed Aramark for their no-outside-food policy. They may not have Aramark to kick around for much longer:
The company that sells alcoholic beverages at Minute Maid Park could lose one of its state licenses at the stadium because of an incident last summer in which an allegedly drunken driver leaving an Astros game hit and killed a pedestrian.
Catering giant Aramark, which holds the ballpark’s concessions contract, faces an administrative hearing because of allegations that it sold or delivered alcohol to an intoxicated person, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Cancellation of the permit is the standard penalty for a case this severe, said TABC Capt. Rick Cruz. A date for the hearing has not been set.
The background to this is truly awful. The allegedly drunken driver is actually an Aramark employee who was off duty but at the ballpark to watch an Astros game. It’s claimed he was given free drinks before running down and killing a Texas Department of Transportation employee who was working on a downtown street.
For anyone who cares about this stuff, Aramark is potentially on the hook for more than their ballpark liquor license. They haven’t been named in the pending civil suit yet, but you’d have to imagine that they will be, and that they face some serious potential liability. Indeed, Aramark itself was on the wrong end of the largest ever award arising out of someone being overserved at a sporting event, when a New Jersey jury slapped them with a $105 million verdict for selling beer to a drunken football fan who later caused an auto accident, leaving a 2 year-old girl named Antonia Verni paralyzed. I followed that case for a time a couple of years ago and have since lost track of it, but my understanding was that the damages award was overturned (though liability was not) and then the case subsequently settled.
I enjoy a beer at the ballpark, and I often make jokes about just how many I enjoy, but in light of Jim Leyrtiz, Nick Adenhart, and now this case, it’s worth remembering just how important it is to drink responsibly, folks.