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Dram Shop Litigation

We all know that it is illegal for anyone under 21 to possess alcoholic beverages. All too often, however, negligent taverns, bars and restaurants will still serve alcohol to minors, including obviously intoxicated minors, when presented with the minor’s fake ID or when the tavern, bar or restaurant fails to act reasonably in determining whether or not the patron is an obviously intoxicated minor. Under either scenario in California, the bar is at fault and is liable when the obviously intoxicated minor hurts himself or others as a result of being served alcohol at the establishment. Pursuant to California Business and Professions Code § 25602.1, “a cause of action may be brought by or on behalf of any person who has suffered injury or death against any person licensed, or required to be licensed, pursuant to Section 23300, . . . who sells, furnishes, gives or causes to be sold, furnished or given away any alcoholic beverage . . . to any obviously intoxicated minor where the furnishing, sale or giving of that beverage to the minor is the proximate cause of the personal injury or death sustained by that person.” Cal. Bus. Prof. Code § 25602.1. A seller violates section 25602.1, and is liable, when it serves a minor affected by the commonly known outward manifestations of liquor intoxication, whether by failing to observe what was plain and easily seen or discovered or, having observed, by ignoring what was apparent. Schaffield v. Abboud (1993) 15 Cal.App.4th 1133 .

The result of such careless and reckless behavior by a tavern, bar or restaurant can and, often times, will lead to catastrophic injuries not only to the minor who was served alcohol, despite his obvious intoxication, but also to others who may come into contact with the obviously intoxicated minor. The most common scenario we see is when the drunk minor leaves the bar after being served alcohol there, gets into his car and drives away and crashes into and severely injures an innocent motorist. The negligent tavern, bar or restaurant needs to be held accountable for causing these DUI, injury-producing accidents.

The Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Panish Shea & Boyle have routinely obtained justice for those wronged by a negligent tavern, bar or restaurant that has served alcohol to a minor, despite the minor being obviously intoxicated, who then seriously hurts himself or others. Indeed, Panish Shea & Boyle has a strong record of recovering significant verdicts and settlements for its clients, including the largest verdict in American legal history. We have won more than 150 verdicts or settlements of $1 million or more. All of our attorneys are active members of professional legal organizations such as the Consumer Attorneys of California, and partners have been repeatedly honored with titles such as Most Influential Attorneys and Best Lawyers in America.

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