Sadly, this scenario is based upon similar facts in a recent case heard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. On the night of January 20 – 21, 2009, Titiana Fury was a patron at the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming in Miami-Dade County. While at the premises she was served with a substantial amount of alcoholic beverages, and did so knowing that she was habitually addicted to alcoholic beverages. Also, employees witnessed Fury who was obviously intoxicated get into her vehicle and leave the premises. Shortly thereafter she was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle and was killed as a result of the collision. Her father brought an action against the establishment, alleging that the establishment violated the Florida’s Dram Shop Act, inter alia (among other things).
At common law, the father would not been able to file a Fort Lauderdale personal injury suit against the establishment because under this system sellers of intoxicating beverages was not liable for injuries resulting from the patron’s intoxication. However, in recent years, Florida and many other states across the nation have enacted Dram Shop Laws. These laws makes it possible to sue a bar owner, nightclub owner, casino, or establishment that sells or serves alcoholic beverages and a third-party is injured as a result of the intoxicated person.
Under Florida law, individuals or companies who sell or serve alcohol are not liable for injuries or damages caused by the drunk driver except in two situations. First, if the drunk driver was under the legal drinking age; 21 in Florida, the individual or parties who served the alcohol can be held liable for damages. And secondly, when a person or other parties who serve a person who they know is habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages when the intoxicated individual injures or harms another.
Nonetheless, if you are seeking to sue an individual or party under the Florida’s Dram Shop Act you will need to hire one of our FortLauderdale personal injury attorneys. The law is very restrictive in its application and most defendants will attempt to defend this type of action by alleging they were provided with fake documentation such as photo identification. Evidence will need to be introduced to prove that the establishment knew that the patron was habitually addicted to alcoholic beverages. Additionally, the plaintiffs in this case initially filed this action in state court, however, when the defendants refused to accept service, the cause was heard in the District Court of Southern District of Florida. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that it could not be sued due to tribal sovereign immunity privilege. The Court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s case, ruling neither Congress nor the defendant had waived its sovereign immunity by agreeing to be bound by Florida liquor law license.
Further, our Fort Lauderdale accident injury lawyers represent individuals who have lost a loved one or has been injured in a dram shop related accident. Although there are limited exceptions to which the law applies, you could have legal remedies available to you. Contact us today!
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