If an alcohol-serving establishment over-serves a person who is obviously already inebriated in Pennsylvania, this establishment may be held liable for any injuries or deaths caused by the intoxicated patron. In one out-of-state case, a man filed a dram shop liability suit, accusing the bar of over-serving a customer and causing a bar fight. A jury verdict in this particular case was recently returned in the defendant's favor.
According to the plaintiff, the bar sold alcohol to one man and caused him to become drunk. The plaintiff said that while the man was intoxicated, he began to yell obscenities, make sexual remarks and yell fighting words at other patrons in the establishment and at the bartender. At that point, the bartender reportedly told the man to leave the building, but the intoxicated man refused to do so.
The plaintiff said he and other patrons tried to peacefully move the intoxicated man at the bartender's request. The drunken man, however, allegedly struck the plaintiff, which caused him to fall and hit the floor as well as a pool table. The plaintiff said he suffered permanent and severe injuries to the right shoulder as a result. The defendant, however, said that the plaintiff's injuries were his own fault because he did not act reasonably in light of the circumstances and did not take care of his own safety.
In an injury case that potentially involves bar liability, proper legal guidance early on is of the utmost importance. This is because it allows for a prompt investigation to be done regarding the bar's allegedly over-serving a customer. A thorough understanding of what evidence is needed to establish liability in a dram shop case is critical for prevailing in this type of legal case in Pennsylvania.
Source: madisonrecord.com, "Madison County Dram Shop suit ends in defense verdict", Heather Isringhausen Gvillo, Oct. 28, 2015