California Dram-Shop Liability LawsMarch 7, 2010 No Comments
Are bars liable for what person does after leaving their establishment?
It depends.From my understanding they definitely could be if the person was a minor. Here’s two interpretations from different sources.
n. a statute (Dram Shop Act) or case law in 38 states which makes a business which sells alcoholic drinks or a host who serves liquor to a drinker who is obviously intoxicated or close to it, strictly liable to anyone injured by the drunken patron or guest. To the contrary, California recently passed legislation specifically banning such strict liability. It is often hard to prove that the liquor bought or served was the specific cause of an accident (such as an automobile crash while driving home), since there is always an intervening cause, namely, the drunk. (source)
California Civil Code Section 1714 provides:
1714. (b) It is the intent of the Legislature to abrogate the holdings in cases such as Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153, Bernhard v. Harrah’s Club (1976) 16 Cal.3d 313, and Coulter v. Superior Court (1978) 21 Cal.3d 144 and to reinstate the prior judicial interpretation of this section as it relates to proximate cause for injuries incurred as a result of furnishing alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person, namely that the furnishing of alcoholic beverages is not the proximate cause of injuries resulting from intoxication, but rather the consumption of alcoholic beverages is the proximate cause of injuries inflicted upon another by an intoxicated person.
(c) No social host who furnishes alcoholic beverages to any person may be held legally accountable for damages suffered by that person, or for injury to the person or property of, or death of, any third person, resulting from the consumption of those beverages.
Not even bars or liquor stores who sell liquor to an obviously intoxicated person can be held civilly liable for doing so, but there may be criminal responsibility in the form of a misdemeanor.
This is contained in the Business and Professions Code, which provides:
25602. (a) Every person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to be sold, furnished, or given away, any alcoholic beverage to any habitual or common drunkard or to any obviously intoxicated person is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) No person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to be sold, furnished, or given away, any alcoholic beverage pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section shall be civilly liable to any injured person or the estate of such person for injuries inflicted on that person as a result of intoxication by the consumer of such alcoholic beverage.
(c) The Legislature hereby declares that this section shall be interpreted so that the holdings in cases such as Vesely v. Sager (5 Cal. 3d 153), Bernhard v. Harrah’s Club (16 Cal. 3d 313) and Coulter v. Superior Court (____ Cal. 3d ____) be abrogated in favor of prior judicial interpretation finding the consumption of alcoholic beverages rather than the serving of alcoholic beverages as the proximate cause of injuries inflicted upon another by an intoxicated person.
Source: WikiAnswersAlcohol Licensees, Drunk in Public, Local Laws