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Mother hopes dram shop liability will hold stadium accountable

There are numerous stadiums in the Los Angeles area, many of which serve alcohol during sporting events and concerts. Oftentimes, the individuals working in the concession stands and serving customers aren't actual employees of the stadium, restaurant or the catering company; they are volunteers trying to raise money for a cause. While it is certainly admirable that the stadium and caterer are interested in helping community organizations, this situation creates an incentive for servers to keep selling alcohol to individuals who are already extremely intoxicated.

One mother who lost her daughter to a drunk driver leaving a sporting event has filed a lawsuit following the alcohol-related accident. Though this accident took the life of a pedestrian and did not happen in Los Angeles, the issue of drunk drivers leaving local stadiums and the risks they pose to motorcyclists are real. Family members of local bikers could easily find themselves in much the same situation as this mother.

Though the dram shop liability lawsuit against the catering company was dismissed by a district judge, the mother has appealed. Her chances of winning, however, may be slim. Generally, dram shop lawsuits are only won when there is exceptional evidence against the stadium concession operators. In one case, a family was able to get $105 million from a stadium concession company, only to have the award thrown out on appeal.

Though drunk drivers can and should be held liable for injuring motorists, including motorcyclists, it is also a server's responsibility to cut drivers off when they have had too much to drink.

Source: The Courier-Journal, "Mom takes on Colts' stadium vendor over beer sales, daughter's death," Vic Ryckaert, Dec. 22, 2013

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