Claims Against Bars and Restaurants That Illegally Serve Obviously Intoxicated Persons

The February 24, 2012 Tennessean contains this article about lawsuits against those who illegally serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. The article found its way to Page One mainly because of this horrific accident just a few days earlier, when a person who was allegedly intoxicated drove the wrong way on the Interstate and hit and killed a person.

To suggest that bars and restaurants should not be held responsible for violating the law is ridiculous. The notion of “personal responsibility” doesn’t stop with the drunk driver – it also applies to those who illegally serve obviously intoxicated persons.

There is only one thing wrong with the current law – it is not strong enough to prevent bars and restaurants from serving people to drunkenness and beyond. It is unfair to require the person harmed by such conduct to prove the misdeeds “beyond a reasonable doubt” – a standard usually used for criminal cases.   The liquor lobby got special protection for those who have acted illegally, but this law should be repealed and the normal “preponderance of the evidence” standard should be re-instated.