Following a rear-end car accident, Plaintiff filed suit against the driver who hit her and Draught House 50, the dram shop where the driver had been prior to the accident. Plaintiff alleged the dram shop was liable for selling and serving alcohol to the driver when it knew or should have known the driver was intoxicated or would become intoxicated. The driver was given field sobriety tests at the scene of the accident and submitted to a breath test at the police station. She pled guilty to OWI. Adam Zenor and Holli Andresen moved for summary judgment on behalf of the dram, arguing there was no evidence a jury could rely on to conclude the dram shop knew or should have known of the driver’s intoxication at the time of service. The undisputed record provided the driver had been at a happy hour with her co-workers for four hours prior to the accident. During this time she consumed three beers and sat at a table chatting with her co-workers. Plaintiff argued the court should rely on the police officer’s observations at the scene of the accident, which suggested the driver smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, and emotional behavior. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the dram, noting there was no evidence the driver had displayed signs of intoxication at the time of service of the third beer. The dram shop was dismissed from the suit, which is scheduled to proceed to trial against the driver on July 18, 2016.
Banwart v. 50th Street Sports, LLC, Polk County Case No. LACL132459, (Iowa Dist. Ct. June 24, 2016) Ruling on MSJ