(Note: In a crazy coincidence, I wrote this blog post just moments before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals decided Troxel v. Iguana Cantina, a dram shop/premises liability case which reverses a Baltimore County trial court's finding of summary judgment for the defendants essentially because Maryland has no dram shop law. The Court of Special appeals reversed, calling the case a premises liability case. The court lays out the the sometimes hazy line between premises liability and a dram shop claim. At least this is what I think the opinion does I just glanced at the case, amazed by the coincidence. But, boy, this case looks teed up for the Maryland Court of Appeals to impose dram shop liability if that is where the court wants to go.)
The aptly named "Club Blaze", a Georgia strip club, was hit with a $1.75 million verdict in a wrongful death car accident case in Georgia.
These facts read like a preposterous hypothetical concocted by someone intent to prove that every state needs a dram shop law. A man went to a strip bar and managed to drink himself to a .398. Five times the legal limit in Georgia (and Maryland). I bet I have ever been half that drunk in my entire life. I also bet you he had a tab for one at the strip club, making it painfully obvious how he was getting home. So he left the strip club and did what is exactly par for the course when your BAC is .398: he killed himself and two young women, one of which left behind two small kids.
“Fatima did not die in vain. This case will bring awareness about the long-term effects of a drunk driving. This has devastated our family,” Bird's mother, Lisa Mitchell, said in the news release. “Fatima was my daughter and my friend. We honor her by using this award to send her children to college so they can become the best that they can be.”
I'm impressed this woman's mother is able to take such a high road. I would like to think that I could take this approach if it happened to me. I really do. But I think I would just be sad, angry and bitter every single day until I died.
This lawsuit fails on its face in Maryland. We don't have dram shop laws. So you can serve someone alcohol to the point where he is five times over the legal limit creating a time bomb that not only may go off but is actually likely to go off, and there is no claim. That woman's kids - a four and five year-old - would have to fend for themselves for their college tuition if this tragedy had happened in Maryland.