Case Commentary – Bar Liability for Over-Serving

The Ontario Superior Court has recently released an important decision regarding the liability of commercial establishments like bars and restaurants that overserve patrons past the point of intoxication.

The facts of the case – Baron v. Clark 

This claim for damages arose when the plaintiff suffered injuries following an assault and battery by the individual defendant. The plaintiff also sued the commercial establishment Post-Time Bar & Grill (“Post-Time”) for serving the defendant to the point of intoxication, such that he became a danger to them individually by committing an assault.

The plaintiffs claimed that Post-Time had been negligent in that it ought to have foreseen that continuing to serve the defendant would result in him becoming aggressive and causing bodily harm to another person. They also argued that Post-Time had breached the Liquor Licence Act (the “Act”) by serving him past the point of intoxication.

Bars that over-serve are only liable for injuries that are reasonably foreseeable

The court agreed with the plaintiff that the defendant had been past the point of intoxication when the incident occurred, concluding that he was served five drinks after arriving at Post-Time and became intoxicated on the premises.

However, intoxication itself is not enough to lead to Post-Time’s liability under the Act. There must also be a foreseeable risk of harm arising from the act of overserving the individual defendant. Since the staff who served him had no sign that he was aggressive, nor indication that he might become violent and pose a risk to other bar customers. Ultimately, the court found that the altercation turned physical extremely fast, bar staff did not have much time to react, and intervened as soon as they were able.

Lessons for commercial host and bar liability claims

This case illustrates the challenges facing individuals that have been injured as the result of over-serving at a bar. In order to advance a successful claim, victims need the support of a qualified personal injury lawyer who follows developments in this area of the law and can build a strong case on your behalf.

Derfel Injury Law helps accident victims advance claims for compensation. We advise individuals that have been hurt as the result of over-serving, bouncer assault or negligent security at bars, restaurants or other commercial establishments.

We can meet with new clients at locations in Barrie, Whitby and Toronto. Contact us online or call 416-847-3580 to make an appointment.