Dram Shop Claims
Dram Shop Claims
Serve alcohol to a person that is intoxicated or underage patrons who then harm others.
Dram Shop liability is an area of law that establishes liability against sellers of alcohol that serve visibly intoxicated or underage patrons who then harm others. The origin of the term “dram shop” dates back to Eighteenth Century England, when gin makers who sold spirits “by the dram” to illegally avoid taxes. Today Dram Shop claims under New York law, specifically Sections 11-100 and 11-101 of the General Obligations Law, permit the recovery of money damages against a bar, tavern, restaurant, night club or other establishments that serve alcohol to a person that is intoxicated or underage, including damages for accidents and assaults created by the intoxicated or underage drinker. With regard to consumption of alcohol by an underage drinker, a sale is not required and service of alcohol to someone underage at someone’s home or party may give rise to liability against the host.
Today, the term is used by the legal system to refer to any establishment that sells alcohol illegally. Most often it is applied in cases of selling alcohol to minors or to patrons already visibly under the influence. When it is sold to someone who then causes injury or wrongful death through a drunk driving accident, it becomes clear that this is not just a “nuisance crime.” Sellers of alcohol, including stores, bars, or sports/concert arenas, can be held legally responsible for property damage or harm to others if their sale of alcohol to minors or people who are visibly intoxicated led to those events.