Tiger Woods sad over drink driving death at heart of lawsuit

The parents of a staffer at Tiger Woods's Florida restaurant have filed a lawsuit against the golf star, his girlfriend and the business.

The staffer's family claims Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman knew Immesberger had a habitual problem with alcohol but allowed him to be served anyway.   -  Getty Images

Tiger Woods expressed sadness on Tuesday for the death of a staffer at his Florida restaurant whose parents have filed a lawsuit against the golf star, his girlfriend and the business.

The parents of Nicholas Immesberger, who died in a drink driving accident last December at age 24, filed the lawsuit saying their son had been overserved alcohol at The Woods in Jupiter, Florida, celebrity website TMZ reported Monday.

Immesberger was a bartender at The Woods and knew the golf star personally, according to the report.

Woods expressed his sorrow over Immesberger's death in response to a question about the lawsuit at a news conference ahead of the 101st PGA Championship, the year's second major golf tournament which starts Thursday at Bethpage Black on Long Island in New York.

“We're all very sad that Nick passed away,” Woods said. “It was a terrible night, a terrible ending. We feel bad for him and his entire family. It's very sad.”

Woods snapped an 11-year major win drought by winning the Masters last month and seeks his 16th career major title this week. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last week at a White House ceremony.

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The restaurant's manager is Erica Herman, who is Woods's girlfriend and, according to TMZ, recruited Immesberger to the restaurant.

Immesberger finished his shift on December 10 but stayed at The Woods to drink at the restaurant and was allegedly served to the point of “severe intoxication” before being sent out to his car, according to the report.

Immesberger lost control of his car that evening while driving home and crashed, dying in the accident, according to the report, which also said Immesberger had a blood alcohol level of .256, more than three times the legal limit.

The family claims Woods and Herman knew Immesberger had a habitual problem with alcohol but allowed him to be served anyway.

The lawsuit alleges Woods and Herman had been drinking with Immesberger just days before the crash and “reasonably should have known” he was a “habitual drunkard”, according to TMZ.

Immesberger's parents sued Woods directly claiming he “was directly responsible for ensuring that his employees and management ... were not over serving its employees/customers”, according to the report.

The lawsuit was filed in Palm Beach County, Florida. It seeks more than $15,000.