hot-topic rightRed Bank’s Dublin House pub is on the hook for more than $1 million of a $3.3 million jury award to the family a man killed by a drunk, off-duty State Trooper in Middletown four years ago, the Asbury Park Press reported Thursday last week.

Also having to pay into the settlement is the defunct Ashes Cigar Bar nightclub on Broad Street. A third Red Bank watering hole that was sued was spared from the judgment.

The newspaper reports that the case, heard in Superior Court in New Brunswick, involved the death of Ernesto Sta Maria of Old Bridge.

From the Press:

Sta Maria was killed in an accident on Sept. 14, 2007, on Route 35 North in Middletown. His vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Christopher M. Brozyna, then 29 and living in Hazlet. Sta Maria was thrown from his sport-utility vehicle and died as a result of his injuries.

Brozyna, who was off duty and driving his personal vehicle at the time of the crash, was treated for minor injuries. A passenger in Brozyna’s car was uninjured. Brozyna’s blood-alcohol level was more than double the legal limit at the time of the crash, officials said. Brozyna, a trooper for 22 months at the time of the crash, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and drunken driving.

In February 2009, under a plea deal approved in advance by the victim’s family, Brozyna was sentenced to five years in state prison and ordered to serve 85 percent of it before he can be considered for parole. Under the deal, Brozyna, who already had been suspended from the State Police, had to forfeit his job as a state trooper, was barred for life from public employment in New Jersey and will have his driver’s license revoked for five years after his release from prison.

Chamas filed the lawsuit on April 18, 2008. It later was amended to include four taverns.

Sta Maria’s estate was awarded $3.375 million, attorney Peter Chamas told the Press, with 57 percent to be paid by Brozyna, 33 percent to be paid by the Dublin House and 10 percent by Ashes.

Exempted from the judgment was Fixx, formerly Chubby’s Waterside Café. The jury found the West Front Street club had not served Brozyna when he was visibly impaired, owner Michael Gilson tells redbankgreen.

Dublin House co-owner Eugene Devlin called the judgment “a travesty of justice,” and said his establishment was saddled with judgment because it was the only defendant with insurance. He spoke of suing Brozyna and his girlfriend for what he said was false testimony.

Devlin’s attorney, Terry Bolan of Shrewsbury, said he believed that Brozyna and his girlfriend lied at trial about the order of bars they had visited in order to in increase the possible payout to Sta Maria’s family, and that the jury had deduced that the Dublin House was the only defendant able to pay. But he said the two would not be sued.

Bolan said he is “supremely confident that this was a jury working backward, steering money to an innocent” victim.

Ashes went into receivership and was liquidated last year.