Should Maryland Bars Be Liable for Drunken-Driving Accidents?

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As a bar, how responsible are you for the drunken actions of the patrons you serve? That’s being considered by the Maryland Court of Appeals as it hears a case of a car crash on I-270 that occurred in 2008. A ten-year-old girl died, and her family sustained injuries, after a drunken driver rear-ended them at a speed up to 98 mph.

The driver, Michael D. Eaton, had bought 17 beers and other drinks (some of which may not have been for himself) at Dogfish Head Ale House in Gaithersburg, Md., before getting behind the wheel of his Range Rover. The victim’s family is attempting again to bring a civil suit against the bar for $3.25 million.

Surely, a responsible bartender would refrain from serving clearly drunken patrons, but should the establishment be liable?


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