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The New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act, specifically, N.J.S.A. 2A:22A-5, lays out the elements of a dram shop case against a bar or restaurant:

a. A person who sustains personal injury or property damage as a result of the negligent service of alcoholic beverages by a licensed alcoholic beverage server may recover damages from a licensed alcoholic beverage server only if:

(1) The server is deemed negligent pursuant to subsection b. of this section; and

(2) The injury or damage was proximately caused by the negligent service of alcoholic beverages; and

(3) The injury or damage was a foreseeable consequence of the negligent service of alcoholic beverages.

b. A licensed alcoholic beverage server shall be deemed to have been negligent only when the server served a visibly intoxicated person, or served a minor, under circumstances where the server knew, or reasonably should have known, that the person served was a minor.

New Jersey Bar Liability – The Requirement that the Bar Actually Serve the Customer

Bauer v. Nesbitt was a 2009 New Jersey Supreme Court case which held that a bar can only be liable under the dram shop act if a server, waiter or bartender actually serves alcohol. In the Bauer case, the plaintiff-estate brought a dram shop case on behalf of a man who was killed in a drunk driving accident. The driver of that car, Nesbitt, had been drinking during the day before going to a bar with friends. The bar never served alcohol to Nesbitt, who was 19; rather, Nesbitt’s sodas were spiked with rum brought in a small flask. Nesbitt then drove a car and got into an accident, killing his friend.

The NJ Supreme Court held that because the bar never actually served Nesbitt any alcohol, there was no basis of liability under the dram shop law – the New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act. Read more about New Jersey bar/restaurant liability for negligently serving alcohol.

Related articles in our PA & NJ bar and restaurant alcohol liability library:

New Jersey Bar/Restaurant Alcohol Liability Lawyers

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