Gainesville Sun Interviews Brian Baggot about Dram Shop Liability

By: Brian J. Baggot


Brian Baggot, a partner in the Tampa office of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, was interviewed recently for an article in the Gainesville Sun.  The article by Jack Stripling, titled, "Spreading blame for officer's death," examines the liability of bar owners for serving alcohol to someone who then drives while impaired.  In the article, Baggot, who specializes in dram shop liability, explains the standard for establishing liability.

The article was published in the December 23rd edition of the Gainesville Sun.

Baggot's quote from the article is listed below:

The standard for establishing liability is very tough, and that's just as it should be, according to Brian Baggot, a Tampa lawyer who defends bars and taverns in liability cases. Baggot argues that expanding liability law constitutes a "slippery slope."

If bars are held liable for what happens to patrons when they leave, then other businesses and organizations could face similar suits, he said. Baggot raises the hypothetical scenario that expanding liability laws might make the University of Florida liable for renting a parking space out to a Bull Gator who got drunk and then harmed someone after a football game.

"That slippery slope can really cause you major problems," said Baggot, a partner with Rumberger Kirk and Caldwell. "And you've got an industry that is lawful in the United States. People enjoy drinking beer." Bars face greater liability in cases where a patron is underage, but critics charge that even those laws leave major loopholes that insulate establishments from liability.

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