Nevada Supreme Court Rejects Dram-Shop Liability Involving Minor Patron
In the case of Martin Rodriguez v. The Primadonna Company, LLC, 125 Nev., Advance Opinion 45 the Nevada Supreme Court recently affirmed the Eighth Judicial District Court’s summary judgment in favor of Primadonna Company regarding Plaintiff’s claim for negligent eviction of an intoxicated minor patron and upheld Nevada’s long standing rejection of dram shop liability.
On March 6, 2005, Fabian Santiago, 17 years old, and his two adult step-uncles Manuel and Daniel Garibay, checked into Defendant’s hotel and spent the evening gambling and drinking alcohol. Later that evening, all three men were asked to leave Defendant’s property as a result of several altercations with hotel guests. The men intended to sleep off their intoxication in the vehicle, however, Manuel Garibay felt sober enough to drive once he sat in the driver’s seat. The facts also indicate that Defendant’s security personnel knocked on the car window and told the men they must leave the property. As the men drove off Defendant’s parking lot at a high rate of speed, they lost control of the vehicle causing it to roll. The accident caused severe and permanent injuries to Fabian Santiago. Fabian’s Santiago’s guardian brought suit in Clark County District Court alleging that the hotel acted negligently when it evicted the minor and his step-uncles from the property and by doing so, it direcd Fabian Santiago to be a passenger in a motorized vehicle driven by an intoxicated driver.
The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the District Court’s summary judgment finding that Defendant’s security guards acted reasonably as a matter of law when they evicted the intoxicated minor patron. The Court further affirmed Nevada’s long standing rejection of dram shop liability by holding that commercial liquor vendors, including hotel proprietors do not have an affirmative duty to prevent injury to an intoxicated patron subsequent to an eviction and cannot be held liable for damages related to any injuries caused by the intoxicated patron or third party.
By Jack P. Burden, Esq.