AUBURN — The wife of a man who was killed when a car driven by a Farmingdale woman rear-ended another on New Year’s Day in Livermore is suing that driver and the local nightclub where she had been drinking.
Sarah Clark, 30, of Farmingdale and Giovanni Delvecchio had been drinking alcohol for hours at the Sapphire Nightclub and Event Center on Center Street the night of Dec. 31, according to a civil complaint filed in August in Androscoggin County Superior Court.
The nightclub features drinking games such as “beer pong” and advertises “bottle service” and “shot girls,” all designed to “actively encourage its customers to purchase and consume additional amounts of liquor,” according to the lawsuit.
When they were at the nightclub, Clark and Delvecchio “were obviously intoxicated,” according to the suit filed by Kathleen Berry, personal representative of the estate of Shawn R. Berry, who was killed in the crash.
When they left the nightclub, Clark and Delvecchio climbed into his 2013 Ford. Shortly after, the car was traveling northbound on Route 4, or Federal Road, in Livermore, according to the suit.
Snow was falling, covering the roadway and reducing visibility and traction, the suit says.
At roughly 1:20 a.m. on Jan. 1, the driver of Delvecchio’s car ran into the rear of a 2006 Toyota that was parked to the right of the northbound lane, the suit says.
Berry had been a passenger in the Toyota, which was owned by Brady Romano, then-37, of Livermore Falls. When the crash occurred, Berry had been attempting to exit that car.
“As a result of the collision … (Berry) was thrown violently around inside the vehicle causing serious injuries including, but not limited to, fractures of his thoracic spine … multiple fractures to his bilateral ribs and a ruptured aortic arch.” He died from his injuries at the scene “following a period of conscious pain and suffering, during which he was aware of his imminent death,” according to the suit.
The nine-count suit claims negligence on the part of Clark, Delvecchio and Romano. It also claims negligent and reckless service of liquor to Clark and Delvecchio by the nightclub. A claim of conscious pain and suffering is lodged against all defendants.
An attorney for the nightclub responded to the suit last month, filing a motion seeking to dismiss the complaint claiming Kathleen Berry failed to follow requirements for giving written notice to all defendants.
The nightclub replied that it had insufficient information to form an opinion on most of the points cited in Berry’s complaint. The nightclub denied it served Clark “multiple alcoholic beverages, allowing her to become highly intoxicated and unfit to operate a motor vehicle safely.” It also denied the nightclub was negligent in serving Clark that night and that the fatal crash was “a direct and legal result of the intoxication of Clark caused by the negligent service of alcohol” by the nightclub.
Clark was arraigned in July in Androscoggin County Superior Court on related criminal charges of manslaughter, aggravated criminal operating under the influence and driving to endanger, to which she pleaded not guilty.
Convictions for the crimes are punishable by up to 30 years, 10 years and five years in prison, respectively. She is free on personal recognizance.
Romano had pulled over to the side of the road when Shawn Berry had become sick, police said. Clark and a passenger had performed CPR on Berry at the scene, police said.
Shawn Berry, 41, died early New Year’s Day after the car in which he was a passenger was struck by this car, driven by Sarah Clark of Farmingdale, according to Maine State Police.