A man who was severely beaten by an intoxicated patron of a Portland bar has filed a civil lawsuit against the bar asking for nearly three quarters of a million dollars in damages. (Read "Beating victim sues N. Portland bar, claiming it failed to protect him from drunken customer"
The plaintiff, Nathan Anderson, claims that the Wishing Well Restaurant and Lounge in Portland over-served an already intoxicated Michael Sloan, and in doing so, fostered an "unsafe atmosphere." The suit says the Wishing Well also failed to kick Sloan out of the bar when he became argumentative and failed to intervene when he began beating Anderson. The bar had an unsafe environment with only one employee both serving drinks and providing security.
While the specific law cited in this case is Oregon statute 471.565 which holds that a restaurant or bar can be held liable for providing or serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated persons.
This law falls under the general category of "dram shop liability." In Washington state RCW 66.44.200 provides that it is illegal to sell or give away alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of 21 years or a person who is visibly intoxicated.
The goal of dram laws is to keep inebriated and young people from consuming too much alcohol and suffering a serious injury or killing someone else due to over-intoxication. In many cases, dram shop laws are cited when a person is over-severed and then gets behind the wheel of a car and is involved in a drunk driving auto accident in which they kill or seriously injure another person.
The RCW law in Washington requires that establishments with a liquor license must post a notice which informs patrons that they are prohibited from serving alcohol to patrons who are intoxicated. Over-serving can create a case where the establishment and/or bartender are legally financially liable.
Restaurants and bars are required to train their employees to recognize the signs of inebriation including:
- slurred or slowed speech
- loss of motor skills
- bloodshot eyes
- belligerent, loud or obnoxious behavior
- excessive emotional behavior including aggressiveness
- falling down.
Injured Persons Have Legal Rights Under Dram Laws
People who are injured in DUI car accidents or people, such as in this case, who are attacked by a drunk, can file a civil suit asking that the establishment that over-served alcohol be held legally responsible for damages for injuries and fatalities caused by the over-served person.
Most people who seek damages under dram shop laws seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney because of the amount of investigation and evidence that is required to prevail in the case.
The Farber Law Group has more than 30 years experience representing the victims of drunk drivers and their families and some of these cases have involved dram shop liability. Contact us using our online form or call us toll free at 1-800-244-9087. We will provide you with a free and confidential case evaluation.