On dram shop liability in Maryland

There has to be some accountability for a situation that is created or made worse by the action or inaction of a tavern.


  1. As an attorney who does liquor licensing work, I would tell those who might not know that all places that serve alcohol are licensed by local boards. It is against the law to serve intoxiczted or underage patrons. While the court system is considering whether to impose dram shop liability, certainly any citizen of the county where incidents as described above should contact the local liquor board to find out what they are doing about an establishment that seems to have been involved in such an incident. The board can hold a hearing to determine whether the establishment, if guilty, should be fined, have their license to sell suspended (which is a financial burden) or even have their liquor license revoked, which basically puts the establishment out of business. It seems there are rarely any articles about what local boards did when licensed establishments are involved in incidents such as these

  2. Could not disagree more. Somehow personal responsibility is an endangered species.

  3. Great article, Sarah. What some commentators fail to notice is that the theory of liability in the Troxel and Seacrets is collateral to the Dram Shop theory. Rather, the establishment, through action or inaction, created a risk nearly independant of the actual consumption of alcohol. The fact that the plaintiff in Seacrets was drunk is important, but she could have consumed the alcohol anywhere. Same with Troxel. The source of the alcohol is immaterial; it was the fact that a bunch of underage knuckleheads weren’t removed by bar staff and/or Iguana Cantina had inadequate security. Again, collateral issues.

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