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Kansas Liquor Liability Case

Wednesday, May 15, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Kansas Supreme Court upholds precedent protecting bar, restaurants from alcohol liability



On May 10, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld a 34-year-old rule, that prevents a person injured by a drunk driver to sue the retailer who furnished the alcohol. 

Kansas is one of seven states that doesn’t have dram shop laws.  Dram shop allows victims of drunk driving accidents to hold alcohol vendors accountable for the injuries or deaths caused by intoxicated patrons who may have had drinks in their establishment.  The courts determined that a change in the law would be a public policy decision that is best handled by the legislature. 

KRHA filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of two operators in the case.  The brief points out that alcohol in Kansas liquor establishments is heavily regulated and there are laws in place to prevent what happened.  If the current precedent was reversed, it would drive up the cost of doing business in Kansas.  At a minimum, this ruling will save drinking establishments thousands in liquor liability insurance premiums and potentially more in claims being brought against those operating without this coverage.  KRHA President & CEO, Adam Mills, released the following quote when questioned by media, “We appreciate the Supreme Court upholding previous rulings and providing certainty for our industry.  Alcohol sales by Kansas’ restaurant and hospitality industries are heavily regulated.  These same regulations have produced reductions in the amount of alcohol-related traffic incidents, which have dropped dramatically since 1985.”
KRHA will analyze this ruling and determine what regulatory regulatory changes could be introduced in 2020.