Do I Have a Dram Shop Case?
I've got a case where 2 adults were given an excessive amount of alcohol. My client gets in the car with the other drunk guy driving, driver flips the car and my client is injured. Am I correct that dram shop only applies when the tavern owner provides alcohol to minors or is the bar liable in this scenario?
Answer: There is at least a theoretical dram shop case. I say theoretical because of the obvious contrib. problem of your client having been drinking with and then riding with the drunk. There is also the practical problem that most bars don’t have dram shop liability coverage and it is devilishly hard to collect if you get a judgment. If the server is not a bar, you have a social dramshop claim, which will not give rise to liability. Here are some of the cases: Brigance v. Velvet Dove Restaurant, Inc., 725 P.2d 300 (Okla. 1986); Ohio Cas. Ins. Co. v. Todd, 813 P.2d 508 (Okla. 1991)(Intoxicated person may not recover for his own injuries (reversing earlier decision on rehearing)); Teel v. Warren, 2001 OK CIV APP 46, 22 P.3d 234 (Ct. of Civil Appeals will leave to Supreme Court whether to recognize social host liability, citing Battles v. Cough, 1997 OK CIV APP 62, 947 P.2d 600).
Posted on Tue, August 25, 2009
by Sharon Coleman filed under