Robert Ball obtained summary judgment in dram shop action venue

    Obtained summary judgment as to our clients in a dram shop action venue in Sussex County Superior Court ( NJ). Plaintiff was seriously injured by an intoxicated driver employed as a bartender by our clients, a wedding reception facility, bar and inn. Plaintiff alleged that after a wedding reception and after party, our bartender served herself alcohol to the point of intoxication in the presence of and with the consent of a manager. The bartender then left our facility and was involved in the accident. Plaintiff claimed that our client allowed the bartender to serve herself alcohol to the point of intoxication, that plaintiff did not “serve” herself under the NJ Dram Shop Act since consumption was after hours, that our client was liable for common law tort claims of negligent screening, hiring, training, supervision and retention, and that public policy should not preclude plaintiff from a recovery for her significant injuries. We argued that the NJ Dram Shop Act expressly provided that the Act was plaintiff’s exclusive remedy for any claims arising out of the negligent service of alcohol, and that there was no evidence that the bartender was “visibly intoxicated” at the time she served herself, therefore there could be no recovery under the Act. The court agreed and in a 21 page opinion granted our motion for summary judgment.

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