Maryland could save 15 to 25 lives a year by making bars responsible for serving drinks to visibly intoxicated persons, CCL told the Maryland Court of Appeals in a brief filed today, representing the plaintiffs.  Maryland now is one of just a few states that do not impose what is known as dram shop liability.   

The Dogfish Head Ale House in Gaithersburg, Maryland, served at least 21 drinks to an obviously intoxicated Michael Eaton.  Within 45 minutes of driving away from the bar, Eaton reached a speed of at least 88 miles per hour when he plowed into the rear of the Warr family’s car, killing ten-year old Jazimen and seriously injured three other members of her family.  Eaton pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and is now in prison.

“This case is an effort to hold the bar that caused this tragedy responsible for its actions, “ said CCL lawyer John Vail, counsel for the plaintiffs.  Vail further explained that the Maryland Court of Appeals already has endorsed the principles that lead to dram shop liability, reversing two older cases without naming them.  “It simply needs to apply those principles to this case,” Vail noted.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Maryland Association for Justice filed amicus briefs supporting the plaintiffs.  The plaintiffs also are represented by Andy Bederman and Jason Fernandez of Greenberg and Bederman in Silver Spring, MD.

The case, Warr v. JMGM Group, LLC, will be argued by Vail on March 12, 2013.