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Egg Nog Chugging Contest Sends Worker to Hospital

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on December 26, 2014 8:52 AM

A Utah man was hospitalized after chugging a quart of eggnog at his office holiday party.

Ryan Roche was able to chug an entire quart of alcohol-free eggnog in 12 seconds, reports the New York Daily News. For his efforts, the 32-year-old Roche was crowned the winner of the contest. Unfortunately, he almost lost his life in the process.

What happened to Roche and why should employers discourage these sorts of antics at office parties?

Eggnog in Lungs Led to Infection

Immediately after downing the eggnog, Roche had trouble breathing and began to feel nauseous. Doctors determined that Roche had breathed in the eggnog, leading to an infection in his lungs.

Following three days in the hospital, Roche was discharged, telling the Daily News that he was back at full strength, which likely made his employers breathe a sigh of relief. Despite Roche's injuries being caused in large part by own his own questionable decision to chug a quart of eggnog, under some circumstances employers may be liable for injuries that occur during company events such as holiday parties.

Holiday Party Liability

Although holiday parties can be a great way to show appreciation for your employees, they also open up employers to a range of potential legal issues from wage and hour claims to sexual harassment lawsuits.

When it comes to injury liability for holiday party mishaps, excessive alcohol use can often lead to employer liability for injuries not just to employees but also to those who may be injured by an employee who drives under the influence. In this case, the eggnog was non-alcoholic, but had Roche suffered more severe or lasting injuries he may have still had grounds to file a potential negligence lawsuit or a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

With that being said, there is not likely to be an eggnog chugging contest at next year's office holiday party. But Roche says he's retired either way. "Even if someone challenged me to do it, my wife wouldn't allow it," he told the Daily News.

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