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Dram Shop - ABC Regulation Prohibiting Over-Serving

Everheart, Coachman, Coleman, Weatherspoon v. Rucker Place, LLC and Savoie Catering, LLC, [Ms. 1190092, 1190102, 1190110, 1190116, Apr. 24, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2020). The Court (Sellers, J.; and Bolin, Wise, Mendheim, Stewart, and Mitchell, JJ., concur; Parker, C.J., and Shaw and Bryan, JJ., dissent) affirms summary judgments entered for Savoie Catering, LLC and Rucker Place, LLC on dram shop claims predicated on the ABC Regulation 20-X-6.02(4) stating “No ABC Board on-premises licensee, employee or agent thereof shall serve any person alcoholic beverages if such person appears, considering the totality of the circumstances, to be intoxicated.” Ms. **5-6.

Savoie did not hold an ABC license, while Rucker Place did. While Savoie served alcohol at the party where the intoxicated driver was served alcohol, Rucker Place did not serve food or beverages at the party. Ms. *6. The plaintiffs argued that “Savoie was actually acting as the agent of Rucker Place, which does hold an ABC on-premises license, when it served Bewley alcohol.” Ms. *7.

The Court affirmed without reaching the question of joint venture/agency. The Court holds that Regulation 20-X-6-.02(4) does not apply, because the alcohol Savoie served was provided by the host of an off-site private party. Ms. *9. The Court explained

[A] reasonable interpretation of Reg. 20-X-6-.02(4) is that it applies when the on-premises licensee, either as an individual or through its agents, is acting in its capacity as an on-premises licensee. In other words, the regulation is limited and applies only when a licensee is engaged in the activity contemplated by the on-premises license, i.e., selling and dispensing alcohol at the premises covered by the license.

Ms. **10-11.

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