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dramshop statutes

Maryland roundup

by Walter Olson on February 8, 2014

  • Hearing set for February 26 on bill to ban knives and other weapons from private school parking lots and other property [Maryland Legislative Watch]
  • Bill would join Ohio in banning hidden compartments in cars, but one legislative sponsor withdraws it following public outcry [MLW]
  • Minimum wage a poor way to support working families [Todd Eberly]
  • Italian-based gunmaker Beretta: “Maryland disrespects us and gun owners, so we expand in Tennessee” [Ugo Gussalli Beretta, Washington Times]
  • Would a per-bird environmental tax, as proposed by two Montgomery County lawmakers, drive chicken farming out of the state? [DelmarvaNow, followup (governor pledges veto)]
  • “The Parallel Failures of the Oregon and Maryland Health Exchanges” [Peter Suderman, Reason]
  • State has resisted general tide toward dramshop (alcohol server) liability for misdeeds of drunken patrons; bill in Annapolis would change that [MLW, earlier]

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February 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 3, 2014

  • “Class counsel in Facebook ‘Sponsored Stories’ case seeks to impose $32,000 appeal bond on class-action objectors” [Public Citizen, Center for Class Action Fairness]
  • The best piece on bar fight litigation I’ve ever read [Burt Likko, Ordinary Gentlemen]
  • Casino mogul Adelson campaigns to suppress online gaming; is your state attorney general among those who’ve signed on? [PPA, The Hill]
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): “Anyone who values the rule of law should be alarmed by the ADM enforcement action.” [Mike Koehler]
  • New FMCSA rules on length of workweek make life difficult for long-haul truckers [Betsy Morris, WSJ via Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven, National Review and more]
  • “It takes a remarkable amount of nerve to cobble together publicly available facts, claim you’ve uncovered a fraud on the government, and file a lawsuit from which you could earn substantial financial benefits.” [Richard Samp, WLF] Whistleblower-law lobby tries to get its business model established in West Virginia [W.V. Record]
  • Pittsburgh readers, hope to see you tomorrow at Duquesne [law school Federalist Society]

“Two Northeastern Pennsylvania bars have settled for a combined $6.6 million with a man who became quadriplegic after driving drunk and crashing his car into a tree.” Jason Mercado sued two East Stroudsburg, Pa. bars on the theory that they had inexperienced bartenders and staff who should have known better than to serve him. Attorney Robert Sink, who represented Mercado, said the case was not without its difficulties: “if the jury found the drunk driver was more than 50 percent at fault, then he would have gotten nothing” under Pennsylvania law. The insurers defending the case decided that the risk of a verdict otherwise was worth $6.6 million. [Legal Intelligencer]

P.S. Redditors discuss.

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The Maryland high court recently declined an invitation to discard the common-law rule against server liability in a case where a patron of a Gaithersburg craft brewery got on the road and caused a fatal accident. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney wrote in favor of the wider liability rule, and I responded in a letter to the editor just posted at the newspaper.

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“A Boston Red Sox fan who was harassed and stabbed through the neck by a New York Yankees fan at a restaurant in 2010 has been awarded $4.3 million by a jury. The jury in New Haven reached the verdict Thursday in favor of Monte Freire and against the restaurant, U.S.S. Chowder Pot III, in Branford, attorneys for both sides said.” The plaintiff’s lawyer said the restaurant had been put on notice that the Yankees fan was potentially violent and should have cut him off from further liquor; the restaurant’s attorney said that while the man had previously behaved like a jerk, he was sitting quietly when observed which is why the bartender decided only to monitor him. [ESPN]

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And now William Lawler is suing the Amarillo, Tex. sports bar that served both of them earlier in the evening, saying it should have cut them off. The suit, which seeks $1 million or more,

also claims the two had an “amiable relationship, and would have never fought were it not for their extreme level of inebriation.”

Lawler’s lawyer Ryan Turman said he thinks they have a solid case.

“We feel like we’ve got solid facts. We feel like Pink is responsible,” he said. “You just trust a jury to do what is right on these.”

He said the lawsuit was filed in accordance with the Dram Shop Act.

[Amarillo Globe-News, more, Jon Mark Beilue column; & welcome Above the Law readers]

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Maryland roundup

by Walter Olson on March 20, 2013

  • Legislature won’t pass dram shop liability, lawyers ask Maryland high court to do so instead [Frederick News-Post]
  • In St. Mary’s County, new visitor rules for elementary schools ban hugging or giving homemade food to any but own kid [Southern Maryland News]
  • Progress: Maryland Senate votes to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana [NBC Washington]
  • If it’ll take $1 million for Somerset County (pop. 26,000) to cut stormwater nitrogen runoff by 145 pounds, how’s it going to manage to cut 37,000 pounds? [AP]
  • “Fracking Moratorium Falls One Vote Short of Passing Key Senate Committee” [Chestertown Spy] “Bill was more about preventing fracking than studying it.” [@ToddEberly]
  • Department of Truly Dreadful Ideas: Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-Montgomery) continues to push bill to establish state-owned bank [Baltimore Business Journal]
  • Website attacking Montgomery County’s Valerie Ervin has some union fingerprints [WaPo] Sen. Brinkley blasts union bill to make all Md. teachers pay agency fees [Maryland Reporter]
  • Video interview with Hudson attorney George Ritchie on Waterkeeper v. Hudson Farm case [Center Maryland, earlier]
  • Added: “Md. Senate votes to outlaw smoking in cars with young children as passengers” [WaPo just now]

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March 13 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 13, 2012

  • “Are Courts Dragging Out the Housing Crisis?” [Mark Calabria, Cato] “Boom-Era Property Speculators to Get Foreclosure Aid” [Bloomberg News via Bader, CEI] Community organizing groups expect to cash in on state AGs’ robosigning settlement [Neil Munro, Daily Caller, earlier] As does NAAG itself [Daniel Fisher] More: Kevin Funnell.
  • “Non-standard explanation offered for bugging wife’s bedroom” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Chris DeMuth on James Q. Wilson [Weekly Standard, earlier] I wrote about Wilson’s work on at least two occasions: the Baltimore Sun had me review a book of his on “abuse excuses” and other difficulties of psychiatric testimony in court, a good book if a mere foothill in the mountain range of his overall scholarship; on another occasion in Reason I challenged his uncharacteristic backing of a “family policy” proposal ripe with potential for unintended consequences;
  • Boston city councilor: make valet kid at restaurant responsible if patron drives off drunk [NPR via Alkon]
  • “Texas is being stiff armed by the EPA at every turn” [Munro/DC quoting Texas attorney general Greg Abbott] NYT’s “modest” offshore drilling restrictions: “I hate to think what immodest restrictions would look like” [John Steele Gordon]
  • “The Southern Poverty Law Center Is Now Writing About Pickup Artists as Hate Groups” [Mike Riggs]
  • SFO rental car garage offers a whiff of Prop 65 absurdity [Stoll]

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“Surveillance footage suggests that [Azcona] was heavily intoxicated, stumbling several times before he fell into a snow bank and didn’t get up.” Later a snowplow hit him. His survivors are suing the Trenton, N.J. bar that allegedly should have cut him off earlier, along with the city. [Ann Marie McDonald, New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Watch; Trenton Times]

“A New Jersey man who got so drunk playing beer pong at a Greenwich Village pub that he thought walking across a busy highway was a good idea cannot sue the bar over his injuries, a judge has ruled.” [Dareh Gregorian, NY Post]

Max Kennerly thinks we should understand their point of view. Earlier here, here, etc., etc.

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“A South Carolina woman is suing the bar that served her alcohol as a minor the night she had a car accident that left her paralyzed. Chelsea Hess, 22, is also suing the South Carolina Department of Transportation, the town of Bluffton and Beaufort County for negligence for allegedly not maintaining the road shoulder she drove her car over in her accident.” [ABC via @amyalkon]

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January 15 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 15, 2012

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“D.C. United’s Charlie Davies is suing the owners of a Washington nightclub and the drink company Red Bull for $20 million, claiming they are responsible for a fatal car crash that ended the MLS player’s hopes of joining the 2010 U.S. World Cup team. Davies, now 25, was a passenger in the car driven by a woman who has since pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving in the 2009 one-car crash that killed a second passenger.” Perhaps his theory will be that the nightclub had an obligation to assess how drunk the woman was, but he didn’t. [AP/ESPN]

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September 14 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 14, 2011

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July 25 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 25, 2011

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Follow the bouncing blame: “Pleasantville police officer Aaron Hess, who shot and killed Pace University football player Danroy Henry, Jr., is suing a local liquor store for allegedly providing Henry with alcohol. … Hess has been cleared of any wrongdoing by a grand jury but the U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing the case and Henry’s family has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Hess and the police department.” [News12, NY]

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Although the New Jersey legislature enacted a law in 1997 flatly barring drunk drivers from recovering damages over their own car crashes, the state’s supreme court ruled that because the law did not explicitly override the state’s dramshop (liquor-server liability) law, it would be read as having left it intact. [NJLJ, NJLRA, more]

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