Articles Posted in Alcohol Server Liability

The teenage son of a state trooper was killed last year following a wedding reception where he allegedly consumed alcohol purchased by the underage son of the hosts, the father and mother of the bride.
Now, the hosts are facing criminal charges for aiding and abetting underage drinking, and several businesses involved in furnishing the alcohol have been named in a civil lawsuit filed by the decedent’s parents.

Reports indicate the decedent’s parents may also sue the hosts separately for wrongful death.

The case is a tragic example of why hosts should never be lax when it comes to teens and alcohol, even when the atmosphere of the event is jovial.

News reports indicate decedent was with his 19-year-old friend when he walked into a local liquor store and purchased a fifth of whiskey. The purpose was to share it among a small group of teen friends, who had been invited last minute to the wedding reception.

In addition to consuming this liquor, the teen reportedly drank wine served by a catering service owned by the groom.
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In Alabama drunk driving injury cases, it is the intoxicated driver and/or his insurer who will be responsible for compensating victims. However, under some circumstances, the person who served the alcohol to that driver prior to the crash might also be held legally responsible.
The statutes that govern these matters are called Dram Shop Laws, and they vary from state-to-state. Montgomery drunk driving accident lawyers are familiar with the governing statute in this state, codified in Ala. Code 6-5-71, which holds qualified parties may seek damages from the person’s who furnished alcohol to a person who causes a traffic collision.

Typically, this might involve parents who host alcohol-fueled parties for teens or bartenders/bar owners who continue to serve obviously-drunk patrons. But recently, a case before the Indiana Court of Appeals may set a precedent that could also see liability imposed on beer vendors at sports stadiums.
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A $37 million verdict against a business that served alcohol to a driver who then killed a man in a DUI collision has been overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court on the grounds that notice of the lawsuit wasn’t properly served. This was despite the plaintiff’s compliance with the formalities of service by publication as approved by the trial court.
Montgomery DUI accident lawyers recognize this as a cautionary tale regarding serving a defendant by publication, and underscores the plaintiff’s burden to prove that every effort was made to serve the defendant before the case progresses.

It’s not uncommon for defendants to avoid being served with civil court papers. The theory is that if they aren’t served notice, the case can’t proceed. This is only true to an extent. The case will eventually move forward – but only if plaintiffs can prove they made every effort to serve notice on the defendant and the defendant actively hid or endeavored to avoid being served.
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The holiday season is a time when many people throw festive parties to celebrate. Unfortunately, parties can sometimes get out of control and people can end up having too much to drink. ambulance-1334532-m.jpg

Our Montgomery injury lawyers know that if you are throwing a party or allowing your kids to have one, you have certain responsibilities as a host. Alabama has both dram shop and social host laws, which make bars, restaurants, vendors and even private homeowners responsible for serving alcohol to people who are drunk or under-aged.
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A Gulf Shores, Alabama man pled guilty to DUI Manslaughter earlier this week in a Florida Court in connection with a drunk driving collision in which one man was killed and another seriously injured. The at-fault driver faces up to 20 years in prison. (Montgomery Advertiser 1-25-11 – from the Associated Press). Assuming the at-fault driver was insured, the family of the deceased driver is likely to recover the limit of the available liability coverage. Many drivers only have liability insurance coverage for the minimum limit under Alabama law of $25,000. However, there may be other potential defendants and/or sources of recovery.
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