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Fewer states holding alcohol retailers responsible for harms from illegal service
Date:7/29/2013

Fewer states are holding alcohol retailers liable for harms caused by customers who were served illegally, according to a new report from researchers at Alcohol Policy Consultations and the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Published online by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the legal research study documents the gradual erosion of commercial host liability (also referred to as dram shop liability) from 1989 to 2011.

Commercial host liability holds alcohol retailers liable for alcohol-attributable harms resulting from illegal alcohol sales to patrons who are intoxicated or underage at the time of service. It applies to both on-premise (bars, restaurants and clubs) and off-premise locations. The Community Preventive Services Task Force recently determined that commercial host liability was effective in reducing a range of harms from alcohol in states that have it, including a median six percent drop in alcohol-related motor vehicle crash deaths.

The report found that in recent years many states enacted legislation to protect retailers from commercial host liability by increasing the evidentiary requirements, limiting the amount of liability awards and/or protecting certain retailers from liability. For example, between 1989 and 2011, the number of states that recognized liability for serving intoxicated adults without restrictions declined from 25 to 21, and states with one of these major restrictions increased from 11 to 16. Maps illustrating the erosion of these laws can be accessed at the CAMY website at http://www.camy.org/action/commercial-host-liability/.

"The erosion of commercial host liability in recent decades is a public health failure that directly contributes to the exorbitant human and economic costs of excessive drinking," said lead study author James
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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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