Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and establishments that sell alcohol have a legal responsibility not to serve alcohol to customers who are intoxicated. Under the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Liability Act, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, or otherwise who sell alcohol to intoxicated persons may be subject to civil penalties where the intoxicated person injures or kills a third party. An action brought under the statute must be commenced within two years after the date of the injury and damage, and any award for damages resulting from a dram shop lawsuit is limited to $1 million for an individual and $2 million in the aggregate for any one occurrence.
Furthermore, an employer is generally liable for the actions of its staff, which are in violation of the statute. However, an employer may not sanction or terminate employment of any staff that in their “independent judgment” refused to sell alcohol to a person the staff member knows or should know is under 21, is apparently under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or an individual who is a known interdicted person.
Successful defense of claims brought pursuant to the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Liability Act requires detailed knowledge of the necessary elements of proof for a finding of liability, as well as which defenses can preclude a finding of liability. Christensen & Jensen’s dram shop attorneys represent restaurants, bars, taverns and other establishments that sale alcohol throughout the state of Utah. Our liquor liability attorneys are well versed in handling such claims and have the specialized knowledge regarding the strict time limitations, defenses, damages, statutory caps, and nuances associated with dram shop liability, which is essential to defending our clients. Christensen & Jensen’s dram shop attorneys works with our clients to bring their disputes to a fair resolution. However, if a dispute cannot be resolved and trial is needed, our attorneys will aggressively litigate and try any case related to a dram shop dispute.