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dram shop rule

n. a statute (Dram Shop Act) or case law in 38 states which makes a business which sells alcoholic drinks or a host who serves liquor to a drinker who is obviously intoxicated or close to it, strictly liable to anyone injured by the drunken patron or guest. To the contrary, California recently passed legislation specifically banning such strict liability. It is often hard to prove that the liquor bought or served was the specific cause of an accident (such as an automobile crash while driving home), since there is always an intervening cause, namely, the drunk.


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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications