Golfer Tiger Woods and his girlfriend, Erica Herman, have been named in a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that an employee at Woods’ Jupiter, Fla., restaurant was served excessive amounts of alcohol prior to the employee’s death in a car crash in December.
The lawsuit was filed Monday by the parents of Nicholas F. Immesberger, who was killed on Dec. 10 in a single-vehicle rollover crash at about 6 p.m. on Federal Highway near Southwest Colonial Drive in Port Salerno in southern Martin County. At the time, the Florida Highway Patrol reported that Immesberger was driving north “at high rate of speed” prior to losing control of his 1999 Chevy Corvette and overturning.
He died at the scene. Immesberger, 24, was a former football player at Berean Christian in West Palm Beach. He also played collegiately at Bridgewater College in Virginia.
The lawsuit, which names Woods, 43, Herman, and the corporate entity for The Woods restaurant, was filed by Immesberger’s parents as the representatives of his estate. They are seeking more than $15,000 in damages.
According to the lawsuit, employees, management and owners of The Woods Jupiter bar and restaurant at Harbourside Place over-served alcohol to Immesberger despite having knowledge that he suffered from alcoholism. Immesberger drank to the point of severe intoxication before being allowed to drive home, the lawsuit alleged.
It further alleges that Immesberger was personally known to Herman and that, in her role as general manager, she specifically recruited him to work as a bartender despite having knowledge of his history of alcohol abuse. The lawsuit states that Herman had discussed Immesberger’s drinking problem with Woods.
It alleges that a few days prior to the fatal crash, Immesberger drank alcoholic beverages at the restaurant’s bar in the company of both Woods and Herman. The lawsuit states that “Tiger is individually liable in this action because he individually participated in the serving of alcohol to Immesberger.”
Woods’ Jupiter restaurant opened August 2015 at Harbourside Place in Jupiter. A message left for Woods’ agent Monday night was not immediately returned.
Woods’ storied career as one of the golf’s biggest stars seemed to hit a low on May 29, 2017, when he was found asleep in his damaged Mercedes at 3 a.m. on Military Trail south of Indian Creek Parkway in Jupiter. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI but in October of that year pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving. He had to complete a first-time DUI offender diversion program. While no alcohol was found in his system, he was found to have powerful painkillers in his system which he said he was taking after his fourth back surgery in April.
Herman was with Woods at the North County Courthouse in Palm Beach Gardens that October when he pleaded out.
Woods, of Jupiter Island, recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom after winning the Masters. The lawsuit was filed days before Woods is expected to play in the PGA Championship, one of four major golf tournaments of the year on the PGA Tour. Woods, a 15-time winner of major events on tour, recently won the Masters tournament and is three shy of the all-time record for major wins on tour, held by North Palm Beach’s Jack Nicklaus.