Court: Convicted Drunk Driver Can Sue NJ Bar That Served Him

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey’s Supreme Court has ruled a convicted drunken driver has the right to sue the bar that served him.

Wednesday’s 5-2 ruling stems from a 2006 motorcycle crash in which Frederick Voss had a blood-alcohol level of .196 percent, which is nearly two and a half times the legal limit of .08 percent.

Voss later pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated.

He sued the Toms River restaurant Tiffany’s, claiming it negligently kept serving him.

The tavern said the suit isn’t allowed under a state law that says people convicted of DWI cannot sue.

The court ruled that law pertains to insurance claims, not to those who serve drinks.

SOUND-OFF: Agree With The Ruling?  Think It’s Absurd?  Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Section…

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  • Vienna Joe

    Whatever judge came up with this ruling should be removed from the bench and disbarred. If Frederick Voss was of legal age to be served he should be held responsible for his actions. After all, unless the bar employees tied this guy down and forced alcohol into him, they did nothing wrong.

  • DP

    I find it very hard to understand how a working – and busy – bar should be able to track how much each patron has consumed, especially if there is more than one bartender. Further, people who come as a group may be sending an individual – even possibly the designated driver – to pick up drinks for their table. Lastly, even if a patron has been observed to be under a limit policy that the bar succeeds in adhering to, it isn’t possible to know if a patron is also taking antihistamines (it is hay-fever season) which may interact with otherwise modest doses of alcohol to produce a dangerous driving situation.

    New Jersey jurisprudence has just made people practicing their legal license to sell alcoholic beverages liable for factors they have no possible power to have responsibility for. What comes next: making NJ bars liable for people who drank in California and got into accidents in California?

  • p8nt

    WOW.. I guess you have to be stupid to get money, like that lady who spilled hot coffee on herself and crashed her car, then sued MCD for serving hot coffee. I guess NOT drinking hot coffee while driving, or drinking anything while driving, was too smart and too responsible for someone to do. Just like NOT riding a motorcycle under the influence, or NOT drinking when you know your on a motorcycle, is too much for someone to handle.

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