Dram-Shop Liability Law and Legal Definition

Dram-shop liability refers to a civil liability incurred by a commercial seller of alcoholic beverages. Dram shop liability is clause governed by the Dram Shop Act. A dram shop liability is incurred by a commercial seller of alcoholic beverages for a personal injury caused by an intoxicated customer. Claims under dram-shop liability is also brought against private citizens for personal injury caused by an intoxicated social guest.

According to Vernet v. Serrano-Torres, 566 F.3d 254 (1st Cir. P.R. 2009), it was held that the theory of dram-shop liability has been described as one where a bar or tavern may be liable for the wrongful or injurious actions of a patron, if it served alcohol to that patron after it knew, or should have known, that the patron was already intoxicated.