Matt Johnson recently defended a suburban liquor store accused of selling beer to an obviously intoxicated customer. The customer had walked to the store with her dog. Store personnel detected no alcohol, and the woman explained her limp was due to back pain. After purchasing a 12-pack of beer, the customer fell inside the store and refused assistance. Once outside, she proceeded to fall two more times. A nearby police officer recorded the second fall on his dash camera. The video footage was admitted into evidence at the hearing. Store personnel testified it followed its standard procedure in assessing whether the customer was intoxicated. The administrative law judge ruled in favor of the client, concluding the City failed to prove the customer was obviously intoxicated at the time of sale. An adverse determination could have negatively affected the store’s license.
Mr. Johnson’s hospitality law practice includes representing bars and restaurants with respect to alleged liquor license violations and dram shop liability. Please contact him with any questions.