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Most Florida Bars Have Reopened: Let’s Remember Our Dram Shop Laws

September 25, 2020
Legal News

As Many Bars in Florida Reopened at 50% Capacity, Servers Are Reminded of Potential Liability.

After a near six-month long shutdown, Florida bars have been given the green light to open. Earlier this month, The Department of Business and Professional Regulation allowed for most bars in the state to reopen indoor seating at half capacity, according to WFLA News Channel 8. The news comes as a great relief to many bar owners that have been struggling in the wake of coronavirus shutdowns. 

While the statewide order went into effect on September 14, some local officials have decided that their counties simply aren’t ready. As reported in the Palm Beach Post, bars in Palm Beach County will remain closed for the time being. Other counties, including Miami-Dade, followed suit, announcing that they would be exercising local jurisdiction to determine when it was best to reopen. 

Mase Mebane Has Recovered Millions in Liquor Liability Cases

In one of our cases, Mase Mebane secured an $11 million insurance settlement against a bar that served copious amounts of alcohol to a 19-year-old college student who was then hit by a car while walking home intoxicated.

The bar had failed to properly check the student’s ID and was found to be liable after photos on social media helped prove that the bar had been luring college students and serving alcohol to underage patrons.

If you or a loved one was injured as a result of a bar or restaurant serving alcohol to underage guests, contact Mase Mebane to discuss your legal options in a FREE consultation.

Liquor Liability and Florida Dram Shop Laws

For bar owners who are re-opening, business as usual (or at least at 50% capacity) means that servers must be cautious about how much patrons are drinking and whether they are underage. While Florida law establishes that a person who furnishes or sells alcohol to a person of lawful drinking age is generally not liable for injury or damage done by that person, there are some exceptions.

Bars Are Liable for Serving Known Addicts & Underage Patrons

Pursuant to Florida Statute 768.125, a person who willfully and unlawfully furnishes alcohol to a minor or a person “habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages” may be liable for injuries or damages resulting from the intoxication of that person. 

This law establishes liability for both:

  • Bars that over-serve patrons known to have an addiction to alcohol
  • Knowing serving an underage drinker

When an intoxicated minor or known addict to alcohol causes injury or death to another person, the server and the establishment should be held accountable. Liquor liability laws can impose severe consequences for both the bar and the employees involved in the incident.

In addition to civil penalties, a server who furnishes alcohol to a minor could face criminal charges. If convicted, this could result in a hefty fine and up to 60 days in jail. 

Contact Mase Mebane to Discuss Your Rights

As bars reopen across the state, remember that owners and servers may be held liable if someone is injured as a result of the bar overserving alcohol or serving to an underage patron. 

If an intoxicated individual injures you, contact the attorneys at Mase Mebane to determine whether you have a claim against a bar or server that violated Florida’s dram shop laws. Our attorneys have recovered millions on behalf of injury victims throughout South Florida. Call our office at (844) 627-3529 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. 

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