Brian Miller Columbus Ohio Personal Injury Attorney    

Case Law Summary - 2014: January - March

   

Auto Accident / Dram Shop Liability

Lanham v. Fox

Lanham, the plaintiff, sued Applebee’s and Stephen Fox on behalf of the estate of Kim Hunter Tuncliff. Fox negligently struck and killed Ms. Lanham in his automobile. At the time of the crash, Fox had a .179 BAC. Fox had 2 double Crown Royals and Cokes at Applebee’s and this was after he had 4 alcoholic beverages at Outback Steakhouse during dinner.

Lanham attempted to hold Applebee’s liable using the dram shop statute. For a liquor permit holder to be held liable under O.R.C. 4399.18 for death or injury to another caused by the negligent actions of an intoxicated person occurring off the premises, the plaintiff must show: (1) the permit holder or an employee of the permit holder knowingly sold an intoxicating beverage; (2) to a noticeably intoxicated person; and (3) the person’s intoxication proximately caused the personal injury, death, or property damage.

The court held in this case that an affidavit by a doctor, standing alone, stating that the defendant (Fox) “would have likely” exhibited signs of intoxication before he was served at Applebee’s did not present a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Applebee’s knowingly served Cox while he was intoxicated. Liability under O.R.C. 4399.18 requires that the permit holder or server of alcohol have actual knowledge of the patron’s intoxication before the permit holder will be held liable. The 5th District Court of Appeals upheld the lower courts grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant Applebee’s and the case was dismissed.

Lanham v. Fox, 2014-Ohio-1092 (5th Dist.)

    ***These case summaries were adapted from the Ohio State Bar Association's official reports. All cases appear on the OSBA website at www.ohiobar.org, as well as in the OSBA Report Online.***

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