Attorney for Jacqueline Faircloth shares thoughts on verdict and what is to come

By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 24, 2019

Jackie Faircloth

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – On Friday afternoon, a jury awarded more than 30 million dollars to the family of a woman, Jacqueline Faircloth, otherwise known as Jackie, who was struck by a drunk driver.

The verdict decided against the popular bars Potbellys and the now closed, Cantina 101.

Back in November of 2014, on the eve of an FSU vs. UF game, Jackie Faircloth was visiting her brother who was staying at the Southgate apartments. Jackie was a senior in high school at the time.

Don Hinkle, Faircloth's attorney says that Faircloth and friends went to Cantina 101, and when Jackie showed her 18-year-old ID, they banded her as a 21-year-old, "She had never been in an environment like that she had never been in a bar where she could drink like that."

Hinkle shares that Faircloth had a couple of drinks, left the bar, and then when crossing the street to meet her brother, she was hit by a red vehicle.

The driver was Devon Dwyer, who Hinkle shares was an employee at Potbellys also under the influence, "He drank there for four hours, bought 18 beers, bought six bourbons and gave him a fifty percent discount even though he was under age."

But Hinkle says it is not necessarily Dwyer who is to blame, "These two bars sold underage kids knowing they were underage, no fake ID's here. Sold them alcohol. One went to prison and the other is a prisoner in her own body."

Faircloth suffered severe injuries from the incident, rendering her unable to eat, walk or speak. without assistance. But on Friday afternoon, the Faircloth family receiving relief, as the jury awarded more than 30 million dollars to Faircloth.

After a prior mistrial, Hinkle believes this amount is fair, "Hopefully with these resources she can continue to improve, continue to get better and she exercises several times a week, adaptive technologies are not cheap but they are coming down the pike and there is a lot we are hoping for the future."

Hinkle says there is still a long way to go for this case but he hopes, "That this verdict sends a loud and clear message to other bars and other restaurants and not knowingly and illegally serve minors."

And this case, Hinkle hopes serves as an example to students returning to campus, "They need to understand that they are not mature these laws are passed to protect people from themselves to some extent.:"

Hinkle asks students to practice safe drinking habits and road rules.