Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How do you not notice your pinkie finger has been severed?

Or perhaps the question should be, how drunk do you have to be to not notice your pinkie finger has been severed.

The Washington Post has the story of a lawsuit filed by Robert S. Dyer.  The Post describes Mr. Dyer as an "Arlington attorney."  There is a lawyer in Arlington, Virginia named Robert S. Dyer who is on the advisory council of the Republican National Lawyers AssociationHis profile is here. The Republican Party, by the way, used to talk a lot about personal responsibility and tort reform.  But I digress.

Anyway, the lawsuit alleges that the Smith Point bar in the Georgetown area of Washington D.C., is liable for $500,000 in damages that Mr. Dyer sustained there last September.  The complaint alleges that Mr. Dyer apparently went to the bar around 1:30 a.m. on September 31, 20011 (a date most of us know as October 1, 2011, but I guess September has an additional day in Washington), after consuming seven drinks at another bar.  The complaint alleges that Mr. Dyer ordered a beer for himself and friend.

According to the complaint, when Mr. Dyer tried to pay for the beers with a credit card, he learned that the bar requires a $30 minimum for credit card charges and that Mr. Dyer's bill was only $12.  What to do when faced with this sort of problem?  Well, as Mr. Dyer's lawyer, Jonathan Dailey. told the Washington City Paper,  "You could order seven Coca-Colas—who wants to do that, right?"

Since ordering seven cokes is evidently gauche, the complaint alleges that Smith Point employees suggested Mr. Dyer meet the $30 minimum by ordering three vodka shots, mixed together with Red Bull and poured into one glass.  To put it another way, the employees did not suggest an $18 tip.  I guess because the employees at Smith Point are not interested in making tips.  Everyone involved was apparently unaware of the "beer then liquor, never sicker" rule.

Anyway, Mr. Dyer agreed to get the Red Bull/vodka concoction and got plastered.  Then, the complaint alleges that Smith Point employees tried to bounce Mr. Dyer from the bar because he was too intoxicated.  Mr. Dailey told the City Paper that Mr. Dyer was not belligerent.

The complaint says that as he approached the bar's door Mr. Dyer stumbled and grabbed the door for support.  A Smith Point employee allegedly closed the door and Dyer's hand and cut off Mr. Dyer's left pinkie.  Neither article mentions what happened to Mr. Dyer's other fingers.  Mr. Daily tells the City Paper that Mr. Dyer was left with "a little nub at the bottom" of his hand where his pinkie used to be  The Post article says that Mr. Dyer is right-handed so he will still have use of his dominant hand pinkie.

As the City Paper informs us, Mr. Dyer somehow did not notice that one of his appendages had been severed from his body.  Instead, Mr. Dyer went to an ATM and a police officer pointed out to him that he was "bleeding all over Georgetown."  By the time Mr. Dyer got medical attention it was too late to reattach his finger.

Not content with pointing out that his client could have ordered cokes to hit the minimum charge, Mr. Dailey told the Post that Mr. Dyer was a “cocktail party animal” and that Smith Point bartenders served him when they knew they should not have.  As a result Mr. Dyer claims that Smith Point is liable for "medical expenses, loss of earnings, permanent disability, lost employment opportunity and permanent disfigurement."  The articles do not mention what employment opportunities are no longer available to Mr. Dyer because he lost his pinkie.  Can you think of any Mr. Torvik?

As a totally unrelated aside, Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown won 239 games and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame while pitching without an index finger.

In any event, losing a finger is no laughing matter and if the allegations in the complaint are true, then I hope Mr. Dyer is compensated for the loss of his finger.  I wonder if this lawsuit will change people's opinion about tort reform.


  1. You are right that this is not a laughing matter. However:

    1) Beer then liquor, lose a finger.

    2) Mr. Dyer didn't just leave a tip—he left the whole finger!

    3) You ask if I can think of any job opportunities that Mr. Dyer might lose without his left pinkie. Well, I can count them on two hands. (Sadly, Mr. Dyer cannot.)

  2. 4) Mr. Dyer knew something was wrong after the fall, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

  3. Stick around folks, Mr. Torvik's 10:30 show gets a little blue.


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