On Friday, April 10th, 2015, the family of Chowdhury Saqlain, joined by David Haynes of The Cochran Firm, D.C., held a press conference outside the Arlington County Circuit Court calling for greater accountability of bars and restaurants who over-serve alcoholic beverages to patrons. Chowdhury Saqlain was killed in the early morning hours of January 24, 2014 by Aman Singh Lail, who was drunk and ran a red light at more than 65 miles per hour and crashed into Saqlain. Chowdhury Saqlain was 24 years old. On Friday, Lail was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Aman Singh Lail consumed seven alcoholic drinks at Baladna Restaurant and Hookah Bar in Fairfax, Virginia, before getting behind the wheel of his Jeep Wrangler. Lail ran three red lights, traveling at a dangerously high rate of speed before hitting Saqlain’s vehicle at the intersection of Fort Myer Drive and Lee Highway in Arlington, Virginia. It was only two blocks away and one year previous where Lail himself was the passenger in a fatal drunk driving crash which took the life of his friend, the driver of the vehicle they were in.
Saqlain’s family and The Cochran Firm, D.C. are asking Virginia legislators to pass “dram shop” laws. These laws hold restaurants, bars, liquor stores, and other establishments liable for over-serving dangerously drunk patrons who pose a serious risk of harm to others. Virginia is only one of nine states which does not have liquor liability laws on the books. The Cochran Firm, D.C. and the family of Chowdhury Saqlain hope the young man’s tragic death spurs change and want to prevent future senseless drunk driving deaths.
The Cochran Firm, D.C. is filing a $20 million wrongful death suit against Aman Singh Lail for his negligence and reckless conduct which took the live of Chowdhury Saqlain. Because Virginia does not currently have a dram shop law on the books, the victim’s family can only hold Lail responsible for Chowdhury Saqlain’s death. It is the hope of Saqlain’s family and The Cochran Firm, D.C. that if bars and restaurants can be held responsible for over-serving their patrons, there will be fewer drunk drivers on Virginia roads.
Aman Singh Lail had a lengthy rap sheet previous to his arrest for the death of Chowdhury Saqlain in 2014. Lail was arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2009 and convicted of DWI in 2012. Lail had almost 30 other moving violations in northern Virginia, ranging from speeding to reckless driving. The Cochran Firm, D.C. is calling on legislators to take a closer look at drunk driving laws in Virginia to keep dangerous drivers like Lail off the streets.
While Chowdhury Saqlain’s family may never fully recover the money they are seeking in damages from Aman Singh Lail, it is their hope and the hope of The Cochran Firm, D.C. that if stricter laws are passed in Virginia, the lives of other drivers will be spared. By keeping reckless drivers off the street and holding establishments that negligently serve alcohol accountable, lives will be spared and other families will not experience the tragedy caused by drunken driving.