803-254-2200 803-254-2200

For South Carolina business and legal updates:

Blog Posts Tagged "liability"

‘Tis the Season for Reason: Business Owner and Social Host Liability for Holiday Drinking

With the holiday season rapidly approaching – and with it, a succession of alcohol-fueled celebrations – business owners with liquor permits and those planning to host parties should consider what could happen if they are not appropriately vigilant when deciding whom to serve cups of cheer.

Liquor liability for businesses

South Carolina courts have become more severe in punishing those who serve alcohol to people who are intoxicated, so businesses with liquor permits should review their liquor liability policies – not only their insurance policies, but also their internal protocols.

Liquor permit holders already know they can’t sell alcohol to people under 21 years of age or who are intoxicated. But they also should be aware that state law defines “intoxicated” very broadly. Even if a customer doesn’t appear to be drunk when served, business owners can be held liable for the customer’s later actions, such as an accident or a fight, if they know the customer had something to drink before coming to the establishment and the business continued to serve them alcohol. Moreover, business owners can be held personally liable for the behavior of those who overindulge. This means that plaintiffs can go after a business owner’s personal as well as business assets. The costs can be overwhelming: In one case, a bar and its owners were held liable for $10 million dollars.

continue reading

It is That Time of Year Again…Social Host Liability Season

If we haven’t personally experienced it, we’ve seen it: An adult giving an underage relative or friend a beer, cocktail, or glass of wine.  The reasons for doing so often range from, “Well, they are almost 21” to “they should learn now how to handle their alcohol.”  Whatever the reason may be, in Marcum v. Bowden, 372 S.C. 452, 643 S.E.2d 85 (2007), the Supreme Court of South Carolina clearly set forth the law: Adult social hosts who knowingly and intentionally serve, or cause to be served, an alcoholic beverage to a person they know or should know is between the ages of 18 and 20 are liable to the person served, and to any other person, for damages proximately caused by the host’s service of alcohol.

continue reading

Is Your Business Serving Up a Liquor Liability Cocktail?

As the holidays approach, it’s a good time for South Carolina businesses with liquor permits to review their liquor liability policies – both their insurance policies and their employee protocols. South Carolina courts have recently been cracking down on those that serve liquor to people who are intoxicated. Now more than ever there are practical, ethical and legal considerations for ensuring you are careful who you serve and how much.

continue reading