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Tiger Woods speaks out after being sued over drunken driver's death

Tiger Woods sued over drunk driver's death

Tiger Woods and his girlfriend have been hit with a wrongful death lawsuit after a 24-year-old employee at the golfer's flagship restaurant crashed his car after being served alcohol one night while working as a bartender. Woods is being sued along with his girlfriend, Erica Herman, and his Woods Jupiter corporation, which runs The Woods restaurant in Jupiter, Florida. 

The lawsuit, filed Monday, states "the employees, management and owners of The Woods over-served a young man they knew was suffering with the disease of alcoholism." The suit also claims they "ignored Immesberger's disease, they fueled it by over-serving him alcohol to the point of severe intoxication and then sending him out to his car to drive home. As a result of this negligence Immesberger crashed his vehicle and died on December 10, 2018, after leaving The Woods." 

Tiger Woods Presidents Cup Media Opportunity
Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman look on during a Presidents Cup media opportunity at the Yarra Promenade on December 5, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  Scott Barbour / Getty Images

The lawsuit contends that Herman, the restaurant's general manager, "personally knew Immesberger, specifically recruited him to work at The Woods and was well aware of Immesberger's habitual abuse of alcohol." It also states the golfer himself "knew Immesberger personally and through information and believe (sic), Herman had discussed Immesberger and his drinking of alcohol with Tiger." 

The lawsuit also states Woods and Herman were drinking with Immesberger "only a few nights before the fatal crash." 

Speaking at a PGA press conference in Bethpage, New York on Tuesday, Woods addressed the lawsuit.

"We're all very sad that Nick passed away," Woods said when asked about the case. "It was a terrible night, a terrible ending. And we feel bad for him and his entire family. It's very sad."

According to the complaint, Immesberger finished his shift at the restaurant at 3:00 p.m. and stayed around to drink for another three hours before he got in his car and crashed it while driving home. The lawsuit contends that employees at The Woods were aware that one month prior to his fatal crash he had crashed another vehicle while driving home and that one of Immesberger's friends had told employees at The Woods to stop serving the 24-year-old alcohol. 

At the time of his death, Immesberger's blood-alcohol level was .256, nearly three times the legal limit of .08. Immesberger's parents, who are co-managers of his estate, are listed as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. 

Because he is owner of the restaurant, the lawsuit argues Woods is "directly responsible for ensuring that his employees and management"  were not over-serving its employees and customers and that he is "individually liable in this action because he individually participated in the serving of alcohol to Immesberger" with "personal knowledge" that he had a drinking problem.