Dram Shop Liability, To Whom Should The Law Limit Liability?
In Arizona a bar or restaurant is liable for injuries or damages to a person injured by an intoxicated patron if a jury/Court finds that all of the following are present:
- The Bar/Restaurant sold liquor to an obviously intoxicated patron, sold to an underage patron without requesting identification or with actual knowledge that the patron was under 21;
- The patron actually consumed the liquor sold to him/her &
- the consumption of the liquor was the proximate cause of the injury or death. (A.R.S. 4-311)
Arizona; however, limits that the liability of a bar/restaurant owner who over serves a customer who then injures themselves due to the consumption of the liquor. This limitation also extends to any other adult person who is injured and who was present when the customer consumed the liquor or had actual knowledge of the customer’s intoxication. (A.R.S. 4-312)
However, there could be a changing tide regarding this issue. In Philadelphia a deceased’s estate is suing a local club for the death of the deceased. Apparently the deceased left the club with a blood alcohol level of .19. The lawsuit claims that the club’s servers were paid commission on shots poured. The lawsuit alleges that this commission scheme violated Pennsylvania’s liquor liability laws, which are meant to ensure that patrons are not over-served.
What should be the legal standard? Should a bar be responsible for injuries a customer sustains due to his/her over intoxication?