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NJ Dram Shop Act Is The Exclusive Remedy For Persons Injured As A Result Of The Negligent Provision Of Alcoholic Beverages (NJ)

September 2, 2021

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<p style="text-align: justify;">New Jersey’s Dram Shop Law expressly states that it is the exclusive remedy for any person injured as a result of the allegedly negligently provision of alcohol to another person.  Despite this express statement of law, the plaintiff in <a href="https://www.njcourts.gov/attorneys/assets/opinions/appellate/unpublished/a0066-19.pdf?c=r3A"><em>Flowers v. Crossed Key Inn</em></a>, attempted to sue a bar for providing alcohol to its bartender after the bartender had finished her shift.  Specifically, the plaintiff sued defendant Crossed Key Inn on a negligent supervision theory.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The trial judge dismissed the cause of action on summary judgment, reasoning that plaintiff’s claim could only proceed under the Dram Shop Act, which would have required her to prove that the bar served the bartender while the bartender was visibly intoxicated.  Seemingly, the plaintiff and/or her attorney did not feel confident that the plaintiff could prevail under the Dram Shop Act, so they pursued a negligent supervision theory.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The Appellate Division swiftly upheld the summary dismissal on the grounds arrived at by the trial judge. Accordingly, defense counsel representing inns, taverns and bars should know that any common law causes of action can and should be dismissed on summary judgment due to the Dram Shop Act’s exclusive remedy provision.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thank you to Mike Noblett for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:chayes@wcmlaw.com">Colleen Hayes</a> with any questions.</p>

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