Published on December 8, 2017 – Akron Legal News
Ohio’s Dram Shop Act, Revised Code 4399.18, states that a person injured by an intoxicated individual can seek damages from a liquor permit holder if the injuries occur on the property and were caused by the permit holder’s negligence or if the injuries happen off premises, but the permit holder “knowingly sold” alcohol to a “noticeably intoxicated” person or to someone under 21 and the person’s intoxication proximately caused the injuries.
In September 2017 the Ohio Supreme Court put liquor permit holders and others on notice that patrons are not the only “persons” covered by the act.
In its 6-1 decision in Johnson v. Montgomery the court affirmed that the Dram Shop Act is “the exclusive remedy for innocent persons injured off premises by an intoxicated person against liquor permit holders and excludes all other common law negligence claims against permit holders,” said Thomas S. Mazanec, a partner in the Cleveland office of Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co.
“The court concluded that according to the law it does not matter whether the intoxicated ‘person’ was a patron or a worker, the same standard applies,” and that “a liquor permit holder’s responsibility for serving intoxicated persons does not change if that person is a worker or an independent contractor,” said Mazanec.
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