Posted on Jan 16, 2019
Getting Served for Serving Alcohol

Dram shop laws allow an individual to sue bars and restaurants if one of their patrons causes damage or injury to another person after being served while intoxicated.  Essentially, the claim is that the individual was served alcohol when he or she was already intoxicated, which caused or helped to cause the accident. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have dram shop laws.

To prevail under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 30-102, the plaintiff must prove that the establishment sold alcohol to the individual; that said individual was intoxicated; and that the intoxicated person caused injury to the person or property of the plaintiff because of his or her intoxication. In 2003, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that the dram shop act allowed for both recovery under the dram shop statute and a claim of negligence where the intoxicated individual is under 21 years of age.

What is an “intoxicated person?”

This issue has been the subject of a lot of litigation because the statute does not define “intoxicated person.” The court held that, “[w]hen it is apparent that a person is under the influence of liquor, when his manner is unusual or abnormal and is reflected in his walk or conversation, when his ordinary judgment or common sense are disturbed or his usual will power temporarily suspended, when these or similar symptoms result from the use of liquor and are manifest, a person may be found to be intoxicated.”

Are there limits to liability?

Yes. In Connecticut, you can only recover up to $250,000 in a single accident.

There are also some procedural requirements which must be followed. You must provide the seller with written notice of your intention to sue within 120 days of the incident or 180 days in the case of death or incapacity of the injured party. Additionally, there is a one-year statute of limitations for filing a claim under the dram shop act. Contact Buckley, Wynne & Parese to know your rights by calling 203-776-2278 or visiting www.bwplaw.com.

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    Friendly, professional and VERY responsive!

    Attorney John Buckley was highly recommended to me by quite a few people and upon my first meeting to discuss my case, I knew immediately that I was in good hands. He took his time to explain everything to me in great detail and stayed in communication throughout my entire case. His staff was also extremely friendly, professional and VERY responsive! I actually never had to reach out about my case because they over-communicated with me from beginning to end. My accident was very unfortunate, but I’m extremely grateful I was working with Attorney Buckley through it all! I highly recommend this law firm!!!

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    I don't have the words to describe how wonderful John Parese was to work with. He took my family and I under his wing during a difficult time. He was by our side for 3 years while I was treated. He was thorough, caring, and patient. He was always there to answer questions and made us feel that he was in our corner. John explained our options and walked us through the process many times. It was WAY outside of my comfort zone to go to litigation, but he believed in me and my case. He was phenomenal in court and I was very proud to be part of his team. We are forever thankful and would recommend him to anyone!

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    Kind, patient, honest and extremely knowledgeable

    John Parese is an excellent attorney who provided care that was needed at an extremely difficult and a long period of time. He and his team are very dedicated and gave professional guidance in various aspects. I am very grateful for having received a degree of release for the painful accident, and trauma which was unfortunate and terrifying. Mr. Parese is very kind, patient, honest and extremely knowledgeable. I'd highly recommend his help to people in need.

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    Excellent attorney who always fights to protect his clients

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