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September 21st, 2011

Maryland Nightclub Faces Dram Shop Liability in Boating Accident

A popular nightclub in Maryland faces $1 million in liability under the state’s dram shop laws.  The lawsuit has been filed by a boating accident victim, who wants to hold the nightclub responsible for the accident caused by an intoxicated vessel skipper. The lawsuit claims $1 million each in damages from the nightclub as well as the operator of the boat.

The accident occurred on July 5, 2008, when a ski boat carrying ten people crashed into an abutment on the route 90 bridge. All passengers on the boat fell into the water, and several of them sustained injuries.  When rescue personnel reached the scene, they found several passengers hanging onto the bridge for dear life.  The boat sank.

The operator of the boat was later charged with operating a boat in an intoxicated condition, and negligent and reckless operation.  He was sentenced to thirty days in jail.  The operator and his passengers had been at the nightclub, and had been taken by the nightclub’s water taxi to the ski boat.

The plaintiff is claiming damages from the nightclub for its role in the accident because it transported a clearly drunk operator to his vessel, and allowed him to transport nine passengers in an intoxicated condition.  According to the complaint, the nightclub should have known that ferrying a drunk patron like the vessel operator to his boat, and then leaving him to operate the boat and sail away with nine passengers on board, would be dangerous.

Under Maryland’s dram shop liability laws, an establishment that serves or sells alcohol can be held accountable for any injuries or damage that occurs as a result of an accident caused by an intoxicated patron.

The maritime lawyers and at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent persons injured or families of those killed in boating accidents across Texas and around the country.

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