Jersey Drunken Driver Can Sue His Bar

State's top court sides with motorcyclist who drank too much
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2011 2:52 PM CDT
Updated Jun 4, 2011 6:56 AM CDT
Jersey Drunken Driver Gets to Sue the Bar That Served Him
It's the bartender's fault, too, says New Jersey's top justices.   (Shutterstock)

Bartenders, beware: The New Jersey Supreme Court has given a drunken driver the right to sue the bar that served him, reports the Asbury Park Press. When Frederick Voss crashed his motorcycle in 2006, his blood-alcohol level was .196%—almost two and a half times the legal limit. Voss pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, but he sued the restaurant where he had been drinking for several hours before the accident.

The tavern argued that state law prohibited exactly that kind of lawsuit, but the justices disagreed by a 5-2 vote. “Today, drunk drivers can evade personal responsibility for their actions and sue restaurateurs in New Jersey for serving them drinks,” says a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance. Voss's attorney says the ruling means that bars and intoxicated drivers share the blame. (And in other unusual lawsuit news...)

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