Tiger Woods and Erica Herman are facing a wrongful death lawsuit related to the death of an employee who died in a drunk driving accident after working a shift at The Woods restaurant in Jupiter, Florida in December.
Herman is the restaurant manager for The Woods, and is also Woods’ girlfriend.
Lawsuit: Drinking Problem Was Well Known
According to the lawsuit, Woods, Herman, and other employees knew that Nicholas Immesberger had a drinking problem, but still served him to excess during his shifts at the restaurant. The suit says that Immesberger lost control of his car on the night of Dec. 10, 2018, dying at the age of 24 due to injuries suffered in the accident.
The lawsuit states that Immesberger had a blood alcohol level of .256 on the night of the crash, more than three times Florida’s legal limit.
“The employees and management at The Woods had direct knowledge that Immesberger had a habitual problem with alcohol,” the lawsuit reads. “In fact, employees and managers knew that Immesberger had attended Alcoholic Anonymous meetings prior to the night of his crash and was attempting to treat his disease. Despite this, the employees and management at The Woods continued to serve Immesberger alcohol while he was working as well as after work, while he sat at the bar.”
Lawyers Allege Restaurant Destroyed Evidence
On Tuesday, lawyers for Immesberger’s family spoke to the press, saying that The Woods had destroyed videos of him drinking at the restaurant bar to the point of intoxication on the night of his crash.
“One of the most significant issues we have here is the destruction of evidence,” attorney Spencer Kuvin said on Tuesday. “Obviously it shows that somebody knew something had gone wrong and they wanted to get rid of that evidence. We have evidence to show that videotape, showing Nick at the bar that night after he got off at 3 pm, drinking for three hours at the bar, was destroyed shortly after the crash had occurred.”
There is no indication as to whether either Woods or Herman were at The Woods on the night of the crash, as the couple had just returned from Australia on Dec. 7. However, the lawsuit alleges that the two drank with Immesberger – who worked as a bartender – just a few nights prior.
Kuvin also said that Immesberger had wrecked another vehicle while intoxicated about a month before his fatal crash, but that he was still asked to continue working as a bartender.
“Erica specifically asked him to come back to work at the bar, and she was aware of his addiction and problem,” Kuvin said.
When the lawsuit was brought up during Woods’ media availability prior to the PGA Championship on Tuesday, he offered his condolences to Immesberger’s loved ones.
“We’re all very sad that Nick passed away,” Woods told reporters. “It was a terrible night, a terrible ending, and just – we feel bad for him and his entire family. It’s very sad.”
Woods is competing in the PGA Championship this weekend at Bethpage Black in Farmington, New York. The tournament begins on Thursday.