I’LL TAKE YOU TO THE DRAM SHOP…..DON’T DRINK TOO MUCH OF WHAT THEY GOT

So maybe you’re not a fan of the Rapper 50 Cent or you’ve never heard his song “Candy Shop.” And maybe when you just read the title of this article, that song didn’t immediately resonate in your head. That’s okay. But what exactly is a Dram Shop and what does it have to do with Quintana Law? Let’s find out…

Many people go out on weekend nights to have a good time. For those people—whether it’s with acquaintances, close friends, or your significant other—consuming a bit of the “good stuff” is usually involved. But what happens if a bar or other establishment serves an obviously intoxicated adult or a minor alcohol that later physically injures or, even worse, kills someone else? 

“Dram Shop” is a legal term referring to a bar, tavern, or the like where alcoholic beverages are sold. Traditionally, it referred to a shop where spirits were sold by the “dram,” a small drink of whiskey or other spirits.

Generally, Dram Shop laws allow liability of establishments arising out of the sale of alcohol to obviously intoxicated adults or minors who subsequently cause death or injury to third-parties as a result of alcohol-related collisions. In other words, a bar or restaurant can be held responsible for paying monetary damages to someone injured by a customer that was over-served alcohol by the establishment. 

Example: Bartender pours too many drinks to an obviously drunk adult customer. Customer gets behind the wheel of his car and hits another car. The driver and passenger victims of the car that was hit now have claims for their injuries against the drunk driver AND ALSO against the bar that over-served that drunk driver.

Proving Fault in a Dram Shop Case:

 Arizona is one of many states which impose vendor liability for serving obviously intoxicated adults and minors. According to ARS § 4-311, a licensee (i.e., the establishment/bar) is liable for property damage and personal injuries or is liable to a person who may bring an action for wrongful death if a court or jury finds all of the following:

1. The licensee sold spirituous liquor either to a purchaser who was obviously intoxicated, or to a purchaser under the legal drinking age without requesting identification containing proof of age or with knowledge that the person was under the legal drinking age.

2. The purchaser consumed the spirituous liquor sold by the licensee.

3. The consumption of spirituous liquor was a proximate cause of the injury, death or property damage.

Typically, when the plaintiff wins a lawsuit against both an alcohol vendor and the intoxicated driver, the compensatory damages are divided between the two defendants. Punitive damages may also be awarded.

In a famous case, a jury awarded $135 million to the family of a girl paralyzed in 1999 after a drunk driver collided with the car in which she was riding. The drunk driver reportedly had a blood-alcohol concentration that was double the legal limit after leaving a New York Giants football game. It was determined that the concessionaire at Giants' Stadium shared the liability for the victim's serious injury. Verni Ex Rel. Burstein v. Lanzaro, 404 N.J. Super. 16 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2008).

So the next time you’re that Cat by the bar toasting to the good life or when you’re up in da club, bottle full of Bub…..please remember to know your limits.   Its okay to party like it's your birthday sometimes, Shawty.  Just be responsible when you do.

There are many factual scenarios in which Dram Shop liability will apply. If you are ever injured in an accident involving alcohol, give Quintana Law a call for a FREE consultation at (602) 418-0733.  We can evaluate the case and seek the justice you and you family deserve.