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Strict Liability Under Dramshop Act Allows Comparative Fault
Description A bar patron caused an accident when driving intoxicated. The Utah high court held that although the bar is subject to strict liability under the Dramshop Act, comparative fault would be applied to the patron who caused the accident in apportioning damages.
Topic Torts
Key Words Dramshop Law; Comparative Fault
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Martinez caused an accident when driving intoxicated after consuming alcohol at the Red Flame. The passenger in Martinez's car sued Red Flame for damages under the Utah Dramshop Liability Act. Red Flame sued Martinez to offset its liability by apportioning Martinez's comparative fault. The trial court dismissed the suit because the Dramshop Act prescribes strict liability, not negligence. Red Flame appealed.
Decision Reversed. "The Dramshop Liability Act is subject to the dictates of the comparative fault statute." Comparative fault applies to any cause of action for injury to a person or property. The fact that Dramshop Act liability is strict does not eliminate comparative fault.
Citation Red Flame, Inc. v. Martinez, 2000 WL 88687 (Sup. Ct., Utah)

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