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  • Writer's pictureMark Stumer

THE DRAM SHOP ACT. You serve . . .you pay!


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GENERAL RULE: Pursuant to New York State’s Dram Shop Act, a restaurant, bar or other commercial establishment may be held liable for the acts of their intoxicated patrons who drink and later cause injury to another.

In order to sustain a cause of action under the Dram Shop Act, a Plaintiff must show: (1) that he was injured by an intoxicated person; (2) the defendant sold to or otherwise procured liquor for the intoxicated person; and (3) the defendant thereby caused or contributed to such intoxication.

The owners of any establishment that serves alcoholic beverages would be wise to inform and advise their entire staff of the consequences that can result in serving a patron who appears intoxicated. Employees who do not know of the Dram Shop Act are likely to violate it. Additionally, an owner should adopt a strict written policy prohibiting the sale of alcohol to anyone who appears to be intoxicated and mandating termination for any employee who serves an alcoholic beverage to anyone in contravention to the policy.

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