Friday, March 11, 2016

Punitive Damages Claim Allowed to Proceed in DUI and Dram Shop Civil Actions

A punitive damages claims were allowed to proceed in a Dram Shop Act action in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas case of Robertson v. Valley Forge Beef & Ale, Inc., PICS Case No. 16-0225 (C.P. Montg. Co. Jan. 19, 2016 Smith, J.).  

This matter arose out of a motor vehicle accident allegedly caused by a driver who had been allegedly served alcohol while visibly intoxicated at the Defendant’s bar.   The Defendant driver was later convicted of a DUI and reckless and careless driving. 

In their civil action Complaint, the Plaintiff alleged that each of the Defendants’ conduct was separately outrageous, willful, intentional, and done with conscious indifference.  The Plaintiff sought punitive damages.  

The court applied the well-settled law that punitive damages could be sought in a case involving a DUI Defendant driver and with respect to a Dram Shop action against a tavern.

In its overruling of the Defendant’s Preliminary Objections to the Plaintiff’s Complaint, the court did state that, if discovery confirmed that the Plaintiff was unable to establish outrageous conduct and/or reckless indifference, the defense retained the right to proceed on a Motion for Summary Judgment.

 Anyone desiring a copy of any of the above cases may contact the Pennsylvania Law Weekly Instant Case Service at 1-800-276-7427 and provide the PICS Case Number noted and pay a small fee.

Source:  "Case Digests," Pennsylvania Law Weekly (March 1, 2016).


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