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Dram Shop Liability: Bar, Restaurant, and Individual Exposure for Over-Serving Customers and Guests

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will familiarize counsel with the panoply of dram shop liability issues. These issues include the substantive bases of liability under dram shop acts, the procedural steps required under those statutes, statutory interpretation issues, and insurance coverage factors.


When someone under the influence of alcohol injures a person due to intoxication, the injured person may have a claim against whoever provided the alcohol: the server, the owner/operator of an establishment, and even the host of a private party. Statutes implementing this liability--dram shop laws--exist to fill a hole where the common law does not provide relief to third parties. The intoxicated person, however, has no cause of action.

Dram shop relief is statutory, so counsel must be familiar with the details of the statutes involved. Not only does the injured person have a cause of action, but third parties, such as spouses or children, may also have claims. Counsel must recognize the nuances in the laws and how courts interpret them, including the impact of whether the intoxicated person was of legal drinking age; the level of scrutiny applied to how the alcohol provider determines drinking age; and the determining factors in deciding whether the server should have refused to serve a patron.

Plaintiff and defendant counsel both focus on allegations that will trigger exclusions and non-covered items in insurance policies. For example, statutes will require claims of "willful" actions, and many insurance policies do not provide coverage for such intentional acts.

Listen as the panel, from both the plaintiff and defendant bar, explore these issues and provide insight into pursuing and defending claims under these statutes.



  1. Background and content of dram shop statutes
  2. Statutory analysis and construction
    1. Standard of care
    2. Underage drinkers
    3. Private hosts
    4. Role of common law defenses
  3. Insurance coverage issues


The panel will review and other critical matters:

  • Theories and bases of liability under dram shop statutes
  • Procedures to comply with dram shop statutes
  • Defenses to liability
  • Recovery and insurance issues


Butler, Drew
Drew Hamilton Butler

Richardson Plowden

Mr. Butler focuses his practice on general litigation, including but not limited to construction litigation, products...  |  Read More

Cocklin, John
John Cocklin

Dram Shop, Alcoholic Beverages Regulation and Police Practices Expert

Mr. Cocklin has unique experience in police practices, Dram Shop litigation and retail alcohol issues derived from a...  |  Read More

Lail, David
David Lail

Yarborough Applegate Law Firm

Mr. Lail devotes much of his practice representing drunk driving victims in Dram Shop Litigation and has written and...  |  Read More

McCabe, Michael J.
Michael J. McCabe, Jr., Ph.D., DABT


Dr. McCabe is an internationally trained and nationally recognized scientist with a proven track record of...  |  Read More

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