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State Court Allows Dram-Shop Case to Proceed Despite Pre-Trial Challenge to Affidavit’s Sufficiency

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court handed down a written opinion in a case brought by the daughter of a man killed in a single-vehicle drunk driving accident. In the case, Bayless v. TTS Trio Corporation, the plaintiff sued the establishment that served her father alcohol to the point of intoxication.

Liquor BottlesThe Facts of the Case

Back in 2011, the plaintiff’s father was involved in a single-vehicle car accident after leaving the defendant’s restaurant. It was later determined that the plaintiff’s father was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the restaurant based on the state’s Dram Shop Act.

A Dram Shop Law is a special provision in effect in about 30 states that acts to hold the serving establishment financially liable in drunk driving accidents. Of course, each state’s Dram Shop Law is different, but they generally require evidence that the intoxicated driver was served at the defendant restaurant or bar, and that the intoxication was the proximate cause of the accident.

In this case, the plaintiff was not present at the time her father was served, so she relied on interviews with people who were present. It came out that her father was a frequent patron of the establishment, and on occasion he became loud and boisterous after too many drinks. It was also discovered that he had been at the establishment for about six hours and had ordered roughly 12 drinks. The plaintiff called her father on the day of his accident, and she explained that judging from her experience he was drunk. She compiled all this information into the affidavit on which the case was based.

The restaurant challenged the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s complaint, arguing that it was not based on any first-hand knowledge. However, the court disagreed with the defendant that the affidavit was defective. The court explained that the plaintiff only needs to create an issue for the judge or jury to decide in order to survive the challenge. Here, since such evidence was presented – regardless of its truthfulness or ability to be proven – the challenge must fail. Thus, the plaintiff’s case will be permitted to proceed to trial.

Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Drunk Driving Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a Georgia drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Since Georgia has a Dram Shop Law on the books, you may be able to seek compensation not just from the driver but also from the establishment that served him the alcohol leading to his intoxication. To learn more about Georgia drunk driving cases, and to speak with a dedicated attorney about your case, call Miller Legal Services at 770-284-3727 to set up a free consultation. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are able to help you get the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Negligent Drivers Injured in Georgia Auto Accidents May Still be Entitled to Compensation, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2016.

Georgia Governing Law on Damages That a Plaintiff May Be Awarded in a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, March 10, 2016.