Army recruit sues after suffering injury during drunken recruitment session

Michelle Massey Jun. 22, 2010, 2:32am

An Army recruit has filed suit against the government after suffering a knee injury during a drunken recruitment session.

Spencer Joseph Viola filed suit against United States and Founders Insurance Co. on June 10 in federal court in New Orleans.

Already a member of the Ready Reserve, under the deferred enlistment program in the U.S. Army, Viola claims that he and two of his recruiting officers went to a bar in Metairie where they consumed a substantial volume of alcoholic beverages and discussed boot camp experiences.

Viola was 20 years-old at the time of the incident on Dec. 14, 2009.

Viola claims he was told that he would not be able to endure a "buddy carry drill." Around midnight, the men exited the bar and challenged Viola to attempt the maneuver, which involves carrying a person on one's back. With Viola's consent, one of the recruiters jumped on his back. Viola lost his balance and fell to the ground, injring his knee. He was rushed to the hospital and there he underwent vascular and arthroscopic surgery.

"In failing properly to train and supervise its employees as to the appropriate conduct required of its agents in relation to recruits, the United States Army National Guard showed deliberate indifference to the safety and security of others," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also accuses the bar of breaching its duty to refuse to allow Viola, while on the premises, to consume alcoholic beverages to a point of intoxication and without ascertaining his age.

Viola is seeking damages for pain and suffering, medical bills, economic damages, permanent disability, punitive damages, interest and court costs.

Attorney J. Patrick Connick of Marrero is representing Viola.

U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv01720

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