Dram Shop Liability Claim Defeated by Contributory Negligence

In a 13-page opinion, the North Carolina Supreme Court recently reversed a decision of the Court of Appeals in regards to a Dram Shop liability claim with an allegation that the decedent was contributor negligence.  The Case is DAVIS v. HULSING ENTERPRISES.

In the Davis case, the deceased had drunk over 10 alcoholic beveragbigstock-Arrow-Signs-13878395es at a bar/restaurant, was visibly intoxicated, and had to be helped back to her room by staff.  The next morning, she was found dead.  The cause of death was alcohol poisoning.  

Plaintiff’s dram shop claim alleged that defendants were negligent per se because they violated N.C.G.S. § 18B-305 by knowingly selling and giving alcoholic beverages to the decedent, an intoxicated person.  The bar raised the defense that the deceased was contributory negligent by drinking too much.  North Carolina negligence laws follow the doctrine of contributory negligence, which bars recovery by the plaintiff if he or she is partially at fault, even if just 1%.  The majority of other states follow the doctrine of comparable negligence, in which the amount of damages is reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s degree of fault.

Our Services:

The attorneys at GAY JACKSON & McNALLY, LLP have years of experience representing injured plaintiffs in both personal injury actions and worker’s compensation claims.  We have successfully handled social hosts claims and dram shop liability claims.  Contributory negligence is raised as a defense in many claims and our attorneys have experience in defeating this defense.  The initial consultation is free and our firm does this work on a contingency basis so that there is no fee due unless we recover.

If you are a family member were injured on the job, in a car accident, or both, GAY JACKSON & McNALLY, LLP is here to provide you with the very best possible legal representation and advice. If you need representation for a workplace injury, personal injury or wrongful death, call 919-269-2234 or email us at darren_jackson@bellsouth.net.