The Dram shop act cases

Dram shop act

The acts allow the statutory provisions such as the bars, restaurants and liquor stores to be liable for selling or serving alcohol to the persons who end up causing death or injuries. I personally don’t agree with the aspect of transferring the liabilities to the third party based on the negligence of another individual. I think the act is biased and should be adjusted to make it more clearly compared to its current state. The actions should be redirected to the situation of excessive drinking from the same location since in such cases blame can be laid upon the owners of the bar, restaurants and the liquor stores. The main purpose of the law is to prevent drunken driving accidents which are a good cause to the society. Moreover, the law tends to discourage the bar owners from selling intoxicating liquors to the visible intoxicated individuals and minors. However, it is very hard to identify intoxicated individuals without a machine to detect the level of intoxication and this becomes a point of contradiction.

For example, the case of Kirchner vs. Shooters on the water which involved the death of Kirchner in the Cuyahoga River next to the ‘Shooters’ has led to various discussions. Shooters’ is a restaurant bar and the men arrived at around 1:15. The entire group was not allowed through the main entrance since they were underage and they found other means through the back of the restaurant. Kirchner goes to take a piss off the doc and his friends actually observe him fall into the river due to the excessive drinking at the club that night. The toxicologist reported the blood alcohols level to be 24 which was found to be 3 times the legal limit to operate a vehicle in Ohio. Therefore, in this kind of case the Shooters had all morals to stop the group from entering the restaurant but through their own means, they found themselves inside without the knowledge of the owners. The group was served as adults and yet they were underage who illegally entered the restaurant. However, based on the dram shop act it is the restaurant that will be persecuted and yet they were not aware of how the victims entered. I think there are other means and methods that can be applied to control the number of deaths that come as a result of excessive drinking of intoxicating alcohols.

The stakeholders who are hurt by the dram shop act are the owners of the restaurants, bars and liquor stores. In most cases with absence of enough evidence to support the voluntary intoxication, the owners of the bars and restaurants always fall victims of circumstances. In the case of Kirchner and Shooter was ruled in the favor of the owner of the restaurant because of the issue of voluntary intoxication. Moreover, an individual becomes afraid of purchasing the drinks lowering the sales of the same alcohol drinks. The producers of intoxicating drinks are also hurt due to a reduction in the purchase ratio.

Basically, I think there should be a thorough investigation in the cases that require the application of dram shop act.  The issue of third-party liability stated in the case could be considered biased when not investigated well. Therefore, the laws barring the sale of intoxicating drinks to underage should be enforced but the owners of the bars and restaurants should not be persecuted for an intoxicated underage especially outside its premises.

Leave a Reply