Patron Sues Bar After She Is Assaulted By Drunk Guest
Florida has specific rules when it comes to bar and liquor shop liability that are quite different from other states. A lawsuit that has just been filed in Massachusetts alleges that a bar overserved a patron alcohol until he became drunk. The patron later attacked another patron of the bar who was a woman and rejected his sexual advances. The woman is now suing the bar for overserving the patient.
In Florida, lawsuits filed against bars and liquor stores are quite hard to win, especially when they are filed under a theory of providing too much alcohol to a guest. A social host has limited responsibility to avoid serving alcohol to minors and those who they have reason to know are alcoholics.
The question then becomes: Is this case winnable in Florida? The answer is ‘yes’, but it must be filed under a completely different theory of personal injury liability. In other words, if the lawsuit was filed in Florida, the lawsuit could move forward under a theory of negligent security. The bar couldn’t be held liable for overserving the customer. But once the customer became aggressive with other guests, it was their responsibility to either cut him off, ask him to leave, or call the police. Since they didn’t, and someone was injured because of that negligence, the bar would be liable under a theory of negligent security.
Dram shop liability versus negligent security
Even in other states, dram shops, bars, restaurants, clubs, and even homes are difficult to sue under social host laws. In Florida, you must be able to prove that the social host knowingly served alcohol to someone who was either a minor or someone who was a known alcoholic. Otherwise, the bar is not responsible for the conduct of the guest even if they drive off and cause an accident.
On the other hand, bars and clubs are often sued in Florida under a theory of negligent security. Like most premises liability lawsuits, negligent security requires foreknowledge of a potentially dangerous condition. In the case of the above-mentioned lawsuit, if the guest had been acting bizarrely or upsetting other guests, that would be a clear indicator that the other guests were potentially in danger. They continued to serve the man alcohol and allowed him to remain on the property where he hit on a woman at the bar, and then physically attacked her when she turned him down. Because security and the employees could have reasonably foreseen such an event, they can be held liable under a negligent security theory of personal injury.
Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have been injured or attacked due to the conduct of a guest at a club or bar, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the bar for failing in its duty of care to ensure the safety of its guests. The Tampa personal injury attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm can help you file, litigate, and win your suit against the negligent party. Call today for a free consultation.