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Woman Sues SC brewery For Over-Serving Charleston Man Whose Dog Attacked Her, Lawsuit Says

A New York woman recently filed the lawsuit in federal court.

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A New York woman recently filed a federal lawsuit against a Charleston-area brewery for allegedly over-serving the man whose dog attacked her while she was a customer at the business. 

Lori Zmolek, of Onondaga County, New York filed the lawsuit against Low Tide Brewing Company and Benjamin Kasper, of Charleston, on March 16 in the United States District Court of South Carolina. 

According to the lawsuit, Kasper owned the 78-pound Labrador Retriever that attacked Zmolek on Oct. 25, 2019.  Both Kasper and Zmolek were customers at the brewery located on John’s Island, South Carolina.

The lawsuit alleges that Kasper was “was sold and served a sufficient number of beers” and “that he was significantly under the influence of alcohol and was unable to effectively control and restrain his dog from attacking and biting another person.”

The lawsuit said that the bartender serving Kasper a “significant” number of beers should have known he was intoxicated and not under his control, “such that he presented a danger to others because he was unable to fully control his dog.”

At the time of the alleged attack, Zmolek had her back to the dog that was on a leash held by Kasper, the lawsuit said.

“Suddenly, and without warning, Kasper’s unrestrained dog lunged at Ms. Zmolek, clamped its teeth onto the upper part of her right arm and dragged her to the floor,” the lawsuit said. 

The dog allegedly “ripped into the flesh of her arm,” the lawsuit said. It does not go into full details of her injuries. 

“She has and will endure pain, suffering, emotional distress, scaring, need for medical and surgical procedures, lost time from her work, incurred medical, surgical and related expenses and she has been otherwise seriously injured and damaged,” the lawsuit said. 

According the the lawsuit, Zmolek did not provoke the attack. After it happened, Zmolek noticed Kasper was “visibly intoxicated.”

Low Tide Brewing Company was recently named on the Post and Courier’s list of 12 dog-friendly Charleston bars.

According to the lawsuit, Low Tide “allowed and encouraged customers who were drinking beer to keep and bring their dogs into the bar and mingle with other customers and dogs,” and this was a part of their business model. 

Low Tide is being sued for dram shop liability, strict liability, and negligence. 

Dram shop lawsuits — where plaintiffs sue restaurants and bars for overserving customers — are fairly common in South Carolina. However, they usually involve drunk driving accidents, not dog attacks. 

Zmolek is being represented by Charleston attorneys Ellis I. Kahn, Wes B. Allison,  and Justin S. Kahn in the lawsuit.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].

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