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Dram Shop Case Where Neighbor Shot Minor Survives Summary Judgment

In Tennessee, a Knox County Circuit Court Judge is permitting a wrongful death lawsuit to continue against a sports bar accused of over-serving a teenage customer, Evan Hall, who later crashed into a neighbor’s yard and was shot to death by his neighbor and former classmate Bush. Hall’s parents have brought a $7.5 million lawsuit against the sports bar, Bush, and his parents.

The sports bar argues that the cause of Hall’s death was not foreseeable. It further contends there is no connection between serving Hall too much alcohol and his being shot by Bush. Hall’s attorneys; however, argue that the sports bar was negligent per se for violating the criminal law forbidding serving alcohol to minors. The Court adopted the argument of Hall’s attorneys, finding that due to its violation of the applicable criminal law, the only way the sports bar could avoid this suit is by showing Hall did something to cause his death. Because the sports bar did not put forth the necessary evidence, the case has been allowed to proceed.

For more information, please contact Sean W. Martin at swmartin@carrallison.com. Ashley Baxter (abaxter@carrallison.com), associate in the Chattanooga office assisted with this post.

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