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Hospitality and Liquor Liability

Bars, taverns, hotels, resorts, restaurants, fraternities, clubs, convention centers and virtually any type of establishment that is licensed to serve alcohol all have one thing in common—high-exposure for liquor liability. Admittedly, plenty can go wrong when your main line of work is serving alcohol to patrons and customers. The stakes are high for the owners and operators of these establishments as they commonly face legal complaints based on laws known as Dram Shop statutes.

Marshall Dennehey has extensive experience representing members of the hospitality and liquor industry in dram shop litigation. Our clients include major restaurant chains, privately owned inns and taverns, hotel properties and a wide variety of entertainment venues. The attorneys in our practice group have successfully defended bars, taverns, hotels and a host of social organizations against claims from third-parties arising from the alleged sale of alcohol to intoxicated patrons or to minors. We concentrate on the representation of liquor licensees and social hosts in cases ranging from simple injuries resulting from slip-and-falls to more significant complex personal injury and wrongful death claims.

With 40 years of experience in this practice area, we have worked with our clients to develop investigatory procedures, defense and discovery strategies, and trial preparation techniques that enable us to successfully defend such matters or settle them for reasonable sums. Our attorneys also possess the specific knowledge of the law and are intimately familiar with the unique dram shop statutes for every state in which we practice.

This hybrid area of law incorporates multiple liability exposures including:

  • Dram Shop/Liquor Liability
  • Amusement Sports & Recreation
  • Hotel and Resort Law
  • Hotel Security/Negligence
  • Restaurant and Retail Liability
  • Slip and Fall/General Liability
  • Water Park Safety


We are cognizant that hospitality and liquor cases often have a public relations aspect, and we are fully prepared to manage all collateral issues that may arise. Additionally, our multi-office coverage and familiarity with local rules and practice provide us an edge in defending this litigation.

The Hospitality and Liquor Liability Practice Group serves clients in communities throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Florida and New York. We welcome the opportunity to work with you in defending your liquor and hospitality litigation. If desired, we are also happy to present educational seminars and workshops as a mutually beneficial introduction to our working relationship.

Aug 29, 2011
Attorneys obtained summary judgment in a dram shop action brought against our client by three patrons who claim they were assaulted, abused and falsely arrested by off-duty police officers who had become intoxicated in our tavern. The melee started...
May 31, 2011
Attorneys obtained summary judgment in a Dram Shop case. After drinking all day and attending the insured's charity function, the decedent was killed later that night in an automobile accident. After his life-long friend failed to observe a stop...
Apr 1, 2011
Attorneys obtained an Order granting summary judgment in a liquor liability case. Our client was a motorcycle club which sponsored an "Oktoberfest" event at a local tavern. The plaintiff attended this event and became intoxicated, causing him to...
Aug 24, 2009
Attorneys’ obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a major sporting venue after a five day trial.  The plaintiff was severely injured after leaving an event at the venue when struck on a public road by a drunk driver who was also leaving the event...
Jan 29, 2008
Attorney obtained dismissal of all claims asserted against a restaurant/bar in a premises liability/dram shop action. Plaintiff claimed to have been injured by police who arrested him, after consuming alcohol at our client's restaurant/bar, and...
Law Alerts April 1, 2017
Police investigation reports regarding ongoing investigations are privileged under the Criminal History Record Information Act and executive privilege. They are not subject to disclosure in civil proceedings.    , Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2017 Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice...
Defense Digest Article June 1, 2016
By Teagan S. Allen, Esq.* Key Points: Eyewitness testimony is not required to establish that a licensed alcoholic beverage server violated the New Jersey Dram Shop Act. The “relation back” opinion of a toxicologist remains..., Defense Digest, Vol. 22, No. 2, June 2016 Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal...
Law Alerts January 15, 2016
The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed summary judgment in this Luzerne County wrongful death and survival action brought by the appellant, Faye Moranko, the administrator of the estate of her son, Richard Moranko, who was killed in an automobile..., Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2016 Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide...
Law Alerts January 15, 2016
The New York Appellate Division, Second Department, recently upheld a February 11, 2013, non-jury trial award to the plaintiff, Corey Epstein, and an April 4, 2013, order modifying the decision as to apportionment of liability in a dram shop and..., Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2016 Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide...
Defense Digest Article March 1, 2012
Pennsylvania – Hospitality Litigation Key Points: Pennsylvania Superior Court passes on opportunity to clarify exclusivity for Pennsylvania Dram Shop Act. Verdict upheld where drunk driver dies in single-vehicle accident,...
Articles February 7, 2011
New Jersey Law Journal, Vol. 203, No. 6, February 7, 2011
Defense Digest Article September 1, 2010
New Jersey – Dram Shop , Key Points: N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5(b) is an automotive insurance reform statute barring individuals guilty of driving while intoxicated from bringing suit for losses sustained as a result of their underlying alcohol..., Defense Digest, Vol. 16, No. 3, September 2010
November 15, 2016
Marshall Dennehey announced today that Joseph J. Rava, a veteran of the insurance and defense litigation industries, has joined the firm's Westchester County office as a shareholder in the Casualty Department. Previously, he was regional house counsel for Harleysville/Nationwide Insurance, where he...

Chair

R. Anthony Michetti
Managing Attorney, Doylestown, PA Office
(267) 880-2030
ramichetti@mdwcg.com

Additional Contacts

Lary I. Zucker
Chair, Amusements, Sports and Recreation Practice Group
(856) 414-6001
lizucker@mdwcg.com

Related Practice Areas

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