Anthony M. Sellitto, JR., ESQ.


    Asbury Park Press

Bar patron to get $1 million for fall
Settlement reached with Seaside Heights saloon



(Published in the Asbury Park Press 8/01/01)


A former Seaside Heights man will receive $1,013,217 in a settlement of the lawsuit he filed after being injured in a New Year's Eve fall at Frankie & Johnny's Saloon in the borough, according to his attorney.


Joseph T. Pitcher, 41, now of East Brunswick, will receive the amount in payments to be made over his lifetime, said the lawyer, Anthony M. Sellitto Jr. On Dec. 31, 1996, Pitcher was served at the bar when he was visibly intoxicated, Sellitto said. "Mr. Pitcher, who had fallen twice earlier and had a bloody nose, was in such an intoxicated state that he could not comprehend what he was doing when the bartender gave him another beer," Sellitto said in a prepared statement. "He should have been cut off long before the fall that caused his injuries."


Pitcher passed out while standing up at the bar, fell and struck his head, suffering injuries to the brain, Sellitto said. He said Pitcher's blood-alcohol level was 0.349 -- more than three times the legal limit for driving in New Jersey. He now has vision, speech and walking problems and is disabled, according to court papers.


New Jersey law prohibits bars from serving patrons who are in such a state of intoxication. Pitcher had no health insurance at the time and incurred more than $200,000 in medical expenses, the statement said. A portion of the settlement funds will reimburse Medicaid and Medicare for payments made by those agencies, Sellitto said


The saloon manager late last night referred all comment to the attorney for the bar's insurance company.