Kraft Group Sued For Fatal Tailgate

The Kraft Group, owner of the New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium near Foxboro, Mass., has been sued by a survivor and the family of a woman who died in a crash a mile from the venue after drinking in the parking lot during a music festival.

The suit, filed by the family of Debra Davis and Nina Houlihan, says the Kraft Group was willfully negligent and had a duty to monitor the parking lot and prevent underage drinking outside the 2008 concert. Both women were 20 at the time.

Davis’ family seeks $2.5 million. Houlihan seeks $250,000.


The women had reportedly been drinking at a tailgate party in the Gillette Stadium lot outside the New England Country Music Festival on July 26, 2008. They left in a car with driver Alexa Latteo, 19, who veered off a roadway about a mile from the stadium and hit a tree.

Latteo, who had a .24 blood-alcohol level at the time, and Davis died in the wreck. None of the women had tickets to the concert.

An attorney for the Kraft Group argued during a Nov. 20 hearing that it can’t be held liable because the women had trespassed and illegally supplied their own alcohol. A judge will determine by year-end whether the lawsuit should go to trial.

Attorney Douglas Fox, representing the Kraft Group, compared the case to another in which Massachusetts’ highest court found the parents of an underage girl not responsible for a crash following a party that she threw while they were away, according to the Boston Globe.  In that case, alcohol was brought to the party by guests.

Attorney Joseph Borsellino, representing the Davis family and Houlihan, argued that the Kraft Group had a duty to monitor the parking lot and check identifications to prevent underage drinking as well as ensure attendees had tickets to the event.

The New England Country Music Festival in question was the scene of raucous tailgates, according to the Globe, with hundreds of partiers reportedly intoxicated by 6 p.m. At that time, the parking lots were said to be “out of control” with fights, public urination and vomiting. Security fanned out and ordered tailgaters without tickets to leave.

Among the exodus of “hundreds of inebriated revelers onto Route 1” were Latteo, Davis and Houlihan. Latteo’s family has not filed a suit, according to the Globe.

The Kraft Group is accused of exercising “willful and wanton negligence” in not securing Gillette’s parking lot, resulting in a situation in which Borsellino said it was “foreseeable that someone was going to get killed,” according to the Globe.