Injured beer-pong player cannot sue NYC pub, judge rules

A NEW Jersey man who got so drunk playing beer pong at a New York City pub that he thought walking across a busy highway was a good idea cannot sue the bar over his injuries, a judge ruled.

In a decision made public yesterday, Manhattan Supreme Court justice Lucy Billings threw out Alan Berger’s lawsuit against Wicked Willy’s on Bleecker St, finding that he signed up for the fast-paced beer-drinking game of his own free will.

Berger was 22 in June 2009, when he got into a heated, hours-long match with friends playing the game, the object of which is to bounce a ping-pong ball into another player’s cup and get them to drink, court papers say.

He took a bus back to New Jersey after the game and was still so drunk that he tried to cross Highway 9 near Manalapan and got hit by a car going 80km/h, his lawyer Michael Wiseberg said.

Berger suffered numerous injuries, including a broken hip, leg and foot, tears in both his knees and a lacerated liver, the lawyer said. When his blood was checked at the hospital about four hours after he left the bar, his blood alcohol content was .26 – almost four times higher than the legal driving limit.


His suit charges that the bar should have been monitoring the game to make sure players were not getting visibly drunk. He sued for unspecified damages.

Billings, however, found that beer-pong players are playing at their own risk. While under state law, bars can be responsible for drunk patrons injuring other people, they are not necessarily responsible if they injure themselves.

Wiseberg said he will ask the judge to reconsider her ruling, citing New York State Liquor Authority regulations that say beer-pong tournaments are not permitted because they promote drunkenness


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