A group of wrongful death plaintiffs received a favorable ruling in an opinion recently released by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in a DUI accident case. The court upheld a district court ruling allowing the plaintiffs’ lawsuit to proceed, rejecting the defendant’s arguments that the plaintiffs had submitted a non-compliant affidavit and that the case must be dismissed.
The plaintiffs in the case of Bayless v. TTS Corp. are the children of a man who died in an accident after he had been drinking at a bar located inside a restaurant operated by the defendant. The plaintiffs’ lawsuit alleges that the bartender and staff at the restaurant continued to serve the victim alcoholic beverages after he was extremely intoxicated and before he would be driving home. According to the appellate opinion, the man was served at least 12 alcoholic drinks while at the bar, and the employees of the defendant continued to serve him after he was clearly intoxicated. The man then left the bar to drive home, but he lost control of his vehicle and crashed about two miles from his house. He died at the scene as a result of multiple traumatic injuries.
Business Owners’ Liability for Over-Serving Alcoholic Drinks
Many states, including Massachusetts and Florida, have laws on the books that make it illegal for a restaurant, bar, or retail store to sell alcoholic beverages to someone who is obviously intoxicated. Additionally, there are civil penalties and a legal cause of action that can be filed against a business if they serve alcohol to an intoxicated patron who proceeds to get in a crash and hurt themselves or someone else. These civil laws are designed to encourage business owners and employees not to over-serve customers and put members of the public at risk.