Garcia v. Myrtil, 48 Fla. L. Weekly D1483 (Fla. 3d DCA, Aug. 2, 2023)

A Nightclub Does Not Have a Duty to Defend and Indemnify an Intoxicated Minor in an Automobile Accident Case

The plaintiff brought suit against the intoxicated minor (the tortfeasor) and the subject nightclub that served him pursuant to Florida’s Dram Shop Law, Section 768.125. After a mistrial, the plaintiff settled with the nightclub, leaving only the tortfeasor, who then filed a third-party complaint six years after the accident against the nightclub for defense and indemnity. 

The trial court dismissed the third-party complaint as it did not fall within the four-year statute of limitations nor did it establish a claim for indemnification, which does not accrue until a judgment has been rendered against an indemnitee.

The appellate court affirmed as the nightclub did not have a duty to indemnify under either the Florida Dram Shop Law or common law indemnity, which requires: (1) the party seeking indemnification must be without fault and liability is solely vicarious; and (2) indemnification can only come from a party who was at fault, plus a special relationship between the parties. 

While Florida Dram Shop imposes certain duties on businesses that serve alcohol, it does not create a special relationship or a right to defense and indemnity. 


Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2023 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2023 Marshall Dennehey, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.