Archive for the ‘Alcohol’ Category

All Things In Moderation: The Serving of Alcohol By Bars In The City Of Boston

June 1, 2014

The classical Greeks lived by the proverb, ” All Things In Moderation.”  The City of Boston is ignoring that historical advice when it comes to the serving of alcohol in its bars and restaurants. The newly elected mayor has proposed that the time for serving alcohol and the time for bars and restaurants to remain open be extended from their long-standing schedule. At the present time, the serving of alcohol by a commercial establishments in the city of Boston must terminate at 1:00 a.m.; and the establishment must close by 2:00 a.m. The 1:00a.m. deadline is usually referred to as “last call.” A customer must place an order for an alcoholic drink by 1:00 a.m. and he must finish drinking it by the 2:00 a.m. closing time. He is not allowed to depart the premises with a drink in his hand.  The new proposals which must be approved by the city council would permit alcohol to be served until 2:30 a.m. and permit closing time to be extended until 3:30 a.m.

Why the change? What are the pros and cons of such a change? Is this good public policy? How will this change effect the approximately 50,000 college and university students that go to school within the metropolitan confines of Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts? What is the reaction of organizations such as “The Mothers Against Drunk Driving? What do the university and college Presidents and Deans think about these changes. It seems likely that these serving changes will make their already difficult job more onerous when it comes to consumption of alcohol by their students. Binge drinking is already at epic proportions among teenagers; and university students are mainly teenagers. The late night availability of alcohol beverages to minors is already a problem for bars and restaurants to control. Who is being harmed by the late night and early morning curfews? Is the risk worth the benefit? Is this a short-sighted attempt by commercial establishments to increase their income while ignoring the fact that  the current schedule is already difficult to enforce.  The consumption of alcohol in the middle of the night and early morning by adults also increases the risk of injury by drunk drivers many of whom arrive and depart by car. Just because we can do something does not mean we should do it. A little more moderation is in the public’s interest.

Arthur F. Licata, Esq.

Copyright 2014

All Rights Reserved

Alcohol Liabilty At Concert and Stadium Events: Who’s In Charge?

April 25, 2013

In the state of Massachusetts, a trial judge has decided that relatives of two deceased persons, ages 20 and 19 years old, and an injured person age 24, can bring a lawsuit against the Kraft Group for contributing to their deaths after a country music festival. The concert was held at Gillette Stadium on July 26, 2008. Robert Kraft is the owner of the highly successful New England Patriots football team, and the owner and operator, through his affiliated companies, of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA.

The three woman were drinking in the parking lot of Gillette Stadium. The parking lot is also controlled by the Kraft Group. The Kraft Group handles parking and security at Gillette stadium for football games and other non-football events throughout the year. The plaintiffs claim that the Kraft Group failed to provide proper oversight and supervision of the parking lot and that it failed to have sufficient and proper security. The plaintiffs are likely to allege at trial that the Kraft Group knew or should have known that minors were drinking alcoholic beverages in the parking lot before, during, and after the event inside Gillette Stadium. The plaintiffs’ attorney stated that the “[v]enues for sports and entertainment have always thought they were insulated from liability…” The court’s decision will allow the case to proceed to a jury trial; it will be decided by 12 people after hearing all the facts. The case will also raise issues about providing a safe environment on one’s property when it is used for profit-making activities. The plaintiffs are also likely to allege that the Kraft Group permitted minors into the parking lot whether or not the occupants of the cars had tickets to the concert. It was in effect one big party from which the Kraft’s received compensation for parking on its property. When minors started drinking in an atmosphere in which thousands of people were drinking alcoholic beverages all day long an accident was just waiting to happen. It was not a question whether someone was going to be injured it was merely a question of when it would happen.

The case may affect the way the Kraft Group and similar operators conduct their businesses. They can no longer turn a blind eye to illegal activity on their property. A decision for the plaintiffs will likely affect the scope of alcohol consumption inside the Gillette stadium whether by adults or minors. A company in the entertainment business usually knows what type of audience it attracts. The Kraft Group should be aware about the prevalence of minors at football games and musical events. The Kraft Group must act reasonably under all the circumstances to monitor and prevent under-age drinking on property it controls. The liability of the Kraft Group is more likely than not because there had been prior complaints by others, including the town of Foxboro, about the dangerous alcoholic activities being permitted in Gillette stadium parking lots. There are punitive aspects to the case and probable multiple damages under the consumer protection laws, M.G.l..93A and 176D.

The case will likely address the issues of  excessive alcoholic drinking at tail-gait parties during football games and musical events at Gillette stadium. It likely will also raise issues about where alcoholic beverages should be permitted and what steps are mandatory to protect minors from obtaining alcohol. and Their blatant drinking in the parking lots before, during and after entertainment events was foreseable.  The case may even raise questions about serving first class passengers excessive alcohol on commercial airlines. Surely the airlines know some of their first class passengers are leaving their planes and walking to their cars inebriated and over the legal limit for operating a car. The Kraft Group makes hundred of millions of dollars every year at events which use Gillette stadium and its parking lots. It should be required, by law, to have adequate, and well-trained security to prevent the consumption of alcohol by minors, and drunk adults at events on its property.

Update: On November 5, 2013, the Boston Globe newspaper reported that the wrongful death cases against the Kraft Group were settled on the eve of trial for an undisclosed sum of money. As a result, the theory of the case against the Kraft Group will not be resolved; it was likely that the Kraft Group  would have been found negligent. By settling the Kraft Group maintains the present ambiguity in the law until a jury decides otherwise in a future case, and the jury verdict is upheld by a Massachusetts appellate court.

Copyright 2013

All Rights Reserved

Arthur F. Licata, Esq.

12 Post Office Square

Boston MA.