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In The News

Monday, September 9, 2019

Overserved and Turned Loose in the Night to Wreak Havoc - Who is Responsible?

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Mathew J. Heos

The Michigan Dram Shop Act imposes liability on a bar in only certain instances. My focus is on cases where the bar serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person and then that person injures someone afterward because his or her decision-making was compromised by alcohol. Is it fair to limit you, the injured party to what you can recover because the actual bad actor has limited resources while the bar where he or she got drunk gets off the hook?

Typically, we think of a drunk driver who leaves a bar after being served too much even though he or she exhibits signs of visible intoxication. Indicators like loss of balance, slurred speech, blood shot or glassy eyes, all of which are warning signs that a patron is visibly intoxicated. Many servers are trained on standardized factors that indicate intoxication. If they do not follow that training and your loved one should get hurt badly, you should be compensated.

What should happen? A bartender or server should identify someone exhibiting signs of visible intoxication and stop serving them alcohol. If the patron exhibits violent behavior, he or she should be immediately bounced from the bar or else other patrons could be injured.

What does happen? All too often, bars over-serve patrons and send them out into the public. If you or someone you know is injured by a visibly intoxicated person, the bar could be liable for those injuries. You must act quickly because the Dram Shop Act says that bar must be served with a notice of intent to sue within 120 days after you hire an attorney. A lawsuit must be filed in court within 2 years of the injury or death.

The Nichols Law Firm has experience litigating Dram Shop cases in Michigan. Call me, Matthew Heos at 517-432-9000 or 800-550-5892 for a free consultation if your matter relates to pursuing a dramshop action against a bar or tavern. Find out why at the Nichols Law Firm we take pride in being committed to results.

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.