In the state of Florida, bars and restaurants that provide alcohol to individuals who later injure others in an automobile wreck may be liable in certain, limited situations. In Hall v. West, the appellate court affirmed a lower court ruling that a beach resort did not owe a duty of care to a person injured by an intoxicated defendant a number of miles away from the resort.
The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries when he was hit by a speeding car driven by the defendant. The defendant was visiting a resort at the time of the accident. Prior to and after arriving at the resort, the defendant had consumed a number of alcoholic beverages and was inebriated. The resort’s security personnel told the defendant to leave and even escorted the defendant to his car. Approximately two hours later, and 13 miles away, the defendant hit the plaintiff. The defendant’s blood alcohol level was determined to be .188.
The plaintiff later filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver as well as the resort, alleging the resort was negligent in a number of ways. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the resort failed to identify that the defendant was intoxicated when he entered the premises, failed to make sure that the defendant left the premises safely, failed to utilize responsible persons to deal with intoxicated patrons, and failed to employ individuals who would use due care to ensure that policies and procedures were followed so that an intoxicated person would leave the premises safely.