Tara Burd, a San Diego Civil Litigation Attorney said, “It’s not that preventing drunk driving isn’t a good goal for our legislature. But bartenders are probably the last professionals that need a lesson in the “social impact of alcohol.”
A new bill in the state assembly, known as the Responsible Interventions for Beverage Servers (RIBS) Training Act [AB2121], would legally require California bartenders to learn how to stop serving drunk patrons. Bartenders would be required to take a training course every 3 years on state laws and regulations relating to alcoholic beverage control, and the impact of alcohol on the body and society. Failure to comply with this law could result in an establishment losing its liquor license.
The purpose of the new law is – as most alcohol-related laws are – intended to curb drunk driving. Yet the new law goes nowhere to impose civil liability on bartenders who serve drunk patrons. In other words, RIBS requires training to stop a behavior for which there is no penalty.
California’s current dram shop laws are extremely limited. Business and Professions Code 25602(a) makes it a misdemeanor to sell or give alcohol to a person who is obviously intoxicated. However, it is unrealistic to expect the police to implement this law and crowd California’s jails with bartenders who poured one too many. Typically, civil liability is a greater deterrent, but the code specifically states that “no person who sells, furnishes, [or ] gives” alcohol can bear any civil liability, with the exception of serving an obviously intoxicated minor.
The reason behind this is that it is often hard to prove the specific cause of a drunk driver’s intoxication. Further, California courts have held that the consumption of alcohol, and not the serving of alcohol, is the proximate cause in the case of an accident. Thus, the sale of alcohol by bars and liquor stores in California is not considered to be the cause of an automobile accident. While true, this is not always the case; some establishments engage in otherwise unlawful competitions that are permitted under the law because of the inclusion of alcohol.
By way of example, even if this new law is passed, a bartender would be forced to take a class on alcohol’s effect on the body then encourage his patrons to drink a pitcher of beer in under 2 minutes for another free pitcher. Drinking large quantities of any liquid in a short period of time is dangerous. Yet, in this scenario the inclusion of alcohol relieves the bartender of liability for an otherwise negligently-run competition.
If passed, RIBS would take effect on July 1, 2020.
For more information visit Tara Burd San Diego Civil Law Attorney’s “Who Is Page” in the San Diego Professional Journal at http://whois.sandiegoprofessionaljournal.com/tara-burd-civil-law-attorney or her website at: http://www.TBurdLawGroup.com.
San Diego Civil Litigation Attorney Tara Burd
You may contact her at her office:
T.Burd Law Group
945 Fourth Ave., #307
San Diego, CA 92101
Or, by telephone (858) 215-2873.