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Stripper Car Crash

A recent ruling by the Ohio State Supreme Court determined The Living Room strip club in Dayton had no Dram Shop liability and would not have to pay a $2.85 million verdict under the state’s Dram Shop Act. The Act, established in 2004, says bar and tavern owners are liable for injuries that occur off premises if they have knowingly served alcohol to someone who is underage or drunk.

According to the court’s September 6th ruling, one of the strippers who worked at The Living Room was driving a vehicle that crashed into another car in 2010. The stripper was ruled an “intoxicated person” even though she worked at the bar and was not a patron. The Living Room encourages patrons to purchase alcoholic drinks for the dancers at an inflated price.

The driver, Mary Montgomery, said she was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine when she crashed her vehicle. Nicole Johnson, a passenger in the vehicle struck by Montgomery’s vehicle, was awarded nearly $3 million in a common law negligence claim, but the ruling was struck by virtue as she was only able to bring a Dram Shop claim, which the Supreme Court ruled was invalid because Montgomery was not visibly intoxicated.

The most recent Supreme Court ruling affirmed a prior decision by an appeals court last spring that overturned Johnson’s jury award. The Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas had previously awarded Johnson $2.85 million, but Johnson could not seek relief on that claim if the Dram Shop Act applied to the case. The appeals court ruled that it did.

According to the Ohio Association for Justice in an amicus brief written in regard to the case, claims for damages based on providing alcohol to patrons are only successful if the requirements of the Dram Shop Act are met. However, the statute doesn’t suggest a liquor permit offers any relief from common law responsibilities.

This was an unusual case, but one that is not unheard of in this day and age. There are many different circumstances in which a victim could be injured through no fault of his or her own, and there be multiple parties responsible. We’ve worked with a number of clients who have had to pursue compensation following an accident and their cases were not cut and dry.

If you have questions about the responsibility of third parties concerning your injuries or you want to speak to someone about your case in general, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377 to learn more.

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