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Premier New England Trial Attorneys
Liquor Liability

Call our lawyers or contact us online today if you are ready to defend your case or make an appeal. We are proud to serve clients throughout New England.

Liquor Liability

Handling Dram Shop Cases Throughout New England

Massachusetts and other jurisdictions have special laws that apply to cases involving accidents following the service of alcohol by restaurants and bars, resorts, retailers, distributors, and social hosts. Our attorneys have years of experience handling these types of cases and are keenly aware of the complicated risks faced by our clients. Melick & Porter, LLP is able to quickly and efficiently recognize the key issues presented by the unique circumstances in each case and we work with our clients to develop a plan towards resolution. Our liquor liability lawyers understand that promptly securing evidence, locating witnesses, and working with experienced experts, greatly enhances the opportunities for success.

Contact us online or by phone at (617) 523-6200 to schedule a case evaluation with our professional team if your business or your insured’s business is facing a liquor liability issue.

What is a Dram Shop?

A dram shop is another name for a bar or establishment where alcoholic beverages are served. Also known as liquor liability, dram shop liability refers to the allowance of claims to be brought against bars, taverns, or other businesses that serve alcohol. All have states have dram shop laws that can hold businesses responsible for alcohol-related accidents, such as DUI car accidents caused by drunk patrons.

Dram shop liability exists to provide accident victims with the additional compensation they may need to recover from their injuries a. As individual insurance policies have limits that may not fully cover the damages victims have accrued. Car accidents involving alcohol tend to be catastrophic, as they involve speeding and delayed reactions that can cause serious injuries including burns, broken bones, spinal cord and neck injuries, head and brain trauma, internal bleeding, and death.

Types Of Dram Shop Cases

There are two main types of dram shop cases that businesses can face after an accident: first-party and third-party dram shop cases.

A first-party dram shop case occurs when the person who suffers injuries in an accident is the individual who was served the alcoholic drinks. These cases are often difficult for the injured plaintiff to win, as juries are inclined to believe that the individual is responsible for any injuries he or she accrued as a result of his or her own actions. However, juries in first-party dram shop cases involving minors are more inclined to place responsibility on the establishment that served the minor.

A third-party dram shop case occurs when the person injured in the accident is someone other than the intoxicated individual. This case is often easier for the injured plaintiff to win. Establishing negligence often involves gathering evidence that shows that the bar or club continued to serve the drunk individual while knowing he or she was drunk.

Common Defense Strategies

When your business or your insured’s business is facing a claim, it is important to know about the evidence the injured plaintiff may use against you. To prove your negligence, the plaintiff’s attorney may try to establish that the business served a patron without requesting to see his or her ID, you served a patron who appeared to be drunk, or you served a patron after closing hours.

Our team knows all the strategies opposing counsel will use to prove your negligence, but we have strategies of our own to defend you.

Two common dram shop defense strategies include:

  • Showing that the driver is completely liable for the accident, not the business
  • Showing that the business’ servers are certified and that the business has a record of following liquor license rules

It is our commitment to helping our clients in any complex situation they may find themselves in that has earned our lawyers the respect of our peers and others in the community. We do whatever it takes to achieve the best outcome for our clients.

Our liquor liability lawyers are available to listen to your story and help you when you call us at (617) 523-6200.

Nationally-Recognized & Award-Winning Trial Attorneys

  • Alexander W. Ahrens Photo
  • Matthew B. DiMario Photo
  • Douglas L. Fox Photo
  • Christopher D. George Photo
  • William L. Keville Jr. Photo
  • Michael J. Mazurczak Photo
  • Robert P. Powers Photo
  • Syd A. Saloman Photo
  • Matthew C. Welnicki Photo
  • John G. Wheatley Photo
  • Alexander W. Ahrens Photo
    Alexander W. Ahrens

    Associate

    Alex is an associate in our Connecticut office. He graduated summa cum laude from Quinnipiac University School of Law. He has a B.A. degree in English from Gettysburg College. Alex was an Associate Editor of the Quinnipiac Law Review and received awards for Academic Excellence and Outstanding Performance in Oral Advocacy.
  • Matthew B. DiMario Photo
    Matthew B. DiMario

    Partner

    Matt is a Partner in the General Liability and Professional Liability practice groups. He is admitted to practice in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island and regularly represents insurance carriers, their policy holders and self-insureds in state and federal court. Matt is a skilled litigator who has successfully represented clients on a wide range of insurance defense matters.

  • Douglas L. Fox Photo
    Douglas L. Fox

    Of Counsel

    Doug provides counseling and trial advocacy for the sports and entertainment industry and counts among his clients some of the premier sports and entertainment franchises in Massachusetts. He has extensive experience defending claims arising out of activities at NFL and MLB events, concerts, triathlons, marathons, hockey rinks, dance clubs, and commercial trucking.
  • Christopher D. George Photo
    Christopher D. George

    Partner

    Chris joined the firm in 2010 and concentrates his practice on the defense of complex liability matters in the areas of construction, dram shop, premises, automobile, and catastrophic tort. Prior to joining Melick & Porter, Chris worked at a civil litigation defense firm outside of Boston where he specialized in construction and automobile matters.
  • William L. Keville Jr. Photo
    William L. Keville Jr.

    Partner

    Bill is a seasoned trial attorney with extensive trial experience and successful verdicts defending clients in construction, complex product liability, premises liability, dram shop, transportation and sports and recreation matters. He represents product manufacturers, contractors, shopping malls, restaurants, major real estate developers, property owners, condominium associations, resorts and ski areas.
  • Michael J. Mazurczak Photo
    Michael J. Mazurczak

    Member

    Maz has been at Melick & Porter his entire legal career. He began as a Law Clerk in the summer of 1988 and joined the firm as an Associate in the fall of 1989. Maz has extensive experience in complex civil litigation matters, representing clients in both federal and state courts for 30 years. A significant portion of his practice involves employment law and includes providing major national corporations with oversight and defense of their employment litigation.
  • Robert P. Powers Photo
    Robert P. Powers

    Member

    Bob joined the firm in 1984 after graduating from law school and has made it his professional home. In the years since, he has tried numerous jury cases in both federal and state courts involving a variety of civil matters, including professional malpractice, insurance coverage, and general liability claims. Bob oversees our firm's appellate practice and has successfully argued cases before the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Syd A. Saloman Photo
    Syd A. Saloman

    Partner

    Syd is a cum laude graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and a cum laude graudate of Suffolk University Law School. During law school, he was the recipient of the Goodwin Scholarship for Best Trial Advocacy. Syd is an active member of the Suffolk University Law School Alumni Association. Syd previously practiced at Regan & Kiely LLP and Tucker, Heifetz & Saltzman in Boston.
  • Matthew C. Welnicki Photo
    Matthew C. Welnicki

    Partner

    Matt focuses his practice on tort defense (including product liability, abuse cases, transportation claims and premises liability matters), business litigation, environmental law, and insurance matters. He has significant experience in the Massachusetts and Connecticut state and federal courts and before administrative agencies and arbitration panels.
  • John G. Wheatley Photo
    John G. Wheatley

    Partner

    John is a partner in the firm’s Boston office. He joined the firm in 2011. John focuses his practice on the defense of professional liability, premises liability, liquor liability, worker’s compensation, and insurance coverage matters. He is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in Massachusetts and Maine. John has successfully obtained defense judgments for numerous clients in courts in both Massachusetts and Maine.
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