WAMU 88.5 : News

Should Maryland Bars Be Held Accountable For Over-Serving?

Play associated audio
Maryland alcohol purveyors can't be held liable for overserving under the current law.
Jim Sher: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29335908@N00/5160816786
Maryland alcohol purveyors can't be held liable for overserving under the current law.

Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow bars and restaurants to be liable in court if they over-serve customers who then cause drunk-driving accidents after leaving the establishment.

In 2008, 10-year-old Jasmine Warr was killed as she rode in the back of her parent's SUV on Interstate 270. Their vehicle was struck by another SUV driven by Micheal Eaton of Virginia. He fled the scene but later turned himself into police. Eaton is currently serving an 8-year jail sentence.

The Warr family wanted to seek damages against the bar where Easton was drinking before the crash. Their lawyer Andy Bederman says state police did an exhaustive investigation.

"At the Dogfish Head Ale House in Damascus, he got their about 5 p.m. He stayed about 5-6 hours," Bederman says. "He ordered 14 beers, two Lemondrops — which I understand are hard liquor — and drank at least one other beer a third party ordered for him. He became belligerent, they cut him off. But at 10 p.m. they resumed serving him and he drank three more beers and a shot of tequila."

Maryland is one of a few states where bars can't be held liable in court. Bederman spoke to the state senate Committee this week urging them to approve a bill that would change that, saying the Warr family's case is a "poster child" for why the measure is needed.

"I get choked up talking about this, sorry," Bederman says. "How many kids have to die for the legislature to do something?"

But the bill is opposed by some very powerful interests, and representatives of the bottling and restaurant industries in Maryland told the same committee the bill would force undue legal and insurance costs on establishments.

NPR

A Compelling Plot Gives Way To Farce In Franzen's Purity

The new novel reveals sharp observations and a great, sprawling story. But critic Roxane Gay says the book gets bogged down with absurdly-drawn characters and misfired critiques of modern life.
NPR

Huge Fish Farm Planned Near San Diego Aims To Fix Seafood Imbalance

The aquaculture project would be the same size as New York's Central Park and produce 11 million pounds of yellowtail and seabass each year. But some people see it as an aquatic "factory farm."
NPR

'Hungarian Public Opinion Is In Shock' Regarding Migrant Crisis

NPR's Robert Siegel talks to György Schöpflin, member of the European Parliament for Hungary, about the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe and the crowds of migrants denied access to trains in Budapest.
NPR

How Startups Are Using Tech To Mitigate Workplace Bias

The idea that everyone makes automatic, subconscious associations about people is not new. But now some companies are trying to reduce the impact of such biases in the workplace.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.