County Liquor Control Director Franklyn Silva and Deputy Director Wayne Pagan are breathing a little easier these days. That’s because , according to an Aug. 20, 2007 county press release, U.S. District Court Judge Alan C. Kay ruled back on July 20 that neither man—nor the county itself—has any liability stemming from a Feb. 20, 2004 drunk driving fatality.
Why the county would wait a month before telling us this news is beyond me (county Public Information Officer Mahina Martin didn’t return a phone call asking why). In any case, the fatality in question occurred when drunk driver Carolann Sabatino struck and killed Stephan Bournakel in an automobile accident following a snorkel boat tour called into question how the LC regulates booze cruises. Sabatino was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but Bournakel’s family also sued the county, alleging that officials failed to enforce their own rules.
“Judge Kay held that the County was not liable to the plaintiff for the alleged failure to enforce its liquor rules,” stated the county press release. “He also held that, because the Director [Silva] and the Deputy Director [Pagan] of the Department of Liquor Control were not shown to have acted with malice, they were entitled to immunity from suit as individuals.”
The county long ago indemnified Silva and Pagan in the suit. The Liquor Commission also tightened their rules regarding open bars on snorkel boats.