PORTLAND, Ore. — The father of Meighan Cordie, who died in August 2018 after she jumped or fell from the backseat of a car her mother was driving, is suing an Oregon wedding venue for negligence, claiming they overserved alcoholic drinks to Cordie's mother.
Anton "Tony" Cordie filed the lawsuit last Thursday, seeking $900,000 from Heiser Farms Events LLC.
On Aug. 18, 2018, Cordie attended a family friend's wedding in Dayton, Oregon with her 3-year-old daughter and her mother, Jennifer Weathers, who changed her named to Jennifer Jaeger after the incident. The three drove to the event in Jaeger's vehicle.
The lawsuit claims that Jaeger "became visibly intoxicated" shortly after arriving at the wedding. Despite the fact that Jaeger was "clearly under the influence of alcohol," the lawsuit claims Heiser continued to serve her alcoholic drinks.
Around 10:30 p.m., Cordie said her daughter was getting tired and asked to leave the wedding reception. While walking to the car, Jaeger and Cordie began to argue because Jaeger didn't want to leave the party, according to the lawsuit. Later, three wedding guests told police that Jaeger was too intoxicated to drive.
The lawsuit claims that Heiser employees took no action to prevent Jaeger from driving her car.
"By continuing to serve alcohol to Weathers after she began to display objective signs of intoxication, Heiser created a foreseeable and unreasonable risk that Cordie would be injured while riding as the passenger in a vehicle that Weathers was driving while under the influence of alcohol served by Heiser," the lawsuit states. "Due to Heiser's experience and training with the service of alcoholic beverages, Heiser should have known of the risk that Weathers would drive her vehicle while under the influence of alcohol."
As Cordie and her mother drove away from the wedding, the argument got heated. At some point, Cordie either jumped or fell from the backseat of the car. Investigators believe she struck the guardrail support beam and the road, killing her instantly before she rolled down an embankment and out of sight. Cordie's body was found five days later by joggers near Dayton.
"But for Heiser's failure to stop serving alcoholic beverages to Weathers, Cordie would not have lost her life," the lawsuit states.
Tony Cordie filed a $500,000 lawsuit against Jaeger in October. That lawsuit claims that Jaeger was negligent for drunken driving and failing to stop after Meighan Cordie tumbled from her car.
Jaeger pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants and served five days in jail. But she faced no charges related to the death of her daughter.
“We could prove elements of a few different crimes,” said Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry. “We just couldn’t prove all the elements of any one crime, related to the death. And that’s why she wasn’t charged related to the death."
Read Kyle Iboshi's full investigation into the mysterious death of Meighan Cordie.