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NJ Appellate Court Expands Bar's Liability for Drunken Patrons.


March 21, 2008 at 12:15:31 PM

In the case of <em>Bauer v. Nesbitt</em>, A-2343-06, the decedent and his friend Nesbitt had been drinking heavily before they arrived at the C View Inn. Once at the inn, they ordered only cokes, but the decedent spiked Nesbitt's drinks to the point where Nesbitt was visibly intoxicated. Nesbitt subsequently attempted to drive the decedent home, but in his intoxicated state, caused a fatal crash instead. The decedent's estate sued the C View Inn. The trial court dismissed the action and held that because the C View Inn did not serve Nesbitt alcohol, New Jersey's Dram Shop Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:22A-1 to -7, did not apply. In reversing the trial court's dismissal of the action, the appellate court held: "if employees of the Inn recognized or should have recognized Hamby's intoxication as the result of the visible manifestations of his condition that we have described, the Inn had a duty to protect him from foreseeable injury as the result of an automobile accident by insuring that he did not drive and that he did not ride as a passenger with a patron who was similarly impaired."

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