Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair Helps to Pass New Rhode Island Liquor Liability Law

This year Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair has proudly supported the efforts of the Rhode Island Association for Justice, a group of over 400 trial lawyers from Rhode Island, in advancing and ultimately obtaining passage of an important pro civil justice liquor liability law that will benefit every citizen of Rhode Island.

Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that in 2015 Rhode Island had the highest percentage of alcohol-involved traffic fatalities in the nation (43%), as well as the highest percentage of such crashes involving a driver with a BAC of 0.15 g/dL or greater (32%).[1]

Despite these statistics, Rhode Island had no laws on the books requiring that establishments selling or serving alcohol carry liquor liability insurance.  As a result, a person catastrophically injured as a result of the negligence of an establishment selling or serving alcohol would often have little recourse.

Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair fought together with the Rhode Island Association for Justice to ensure that Rhode Island businesses who are given the responsibility to sell alcohol, are also given the responsibility to carry liquor liability insurance.

Senate Bill S 373 was passed and is now Rhode Island law. This new law requires any holder of a retail license for the sale of alcoholic beverages, i.e. bars, restaurants and liquor stores (except class F – “special event” licenses), to submit evidence of minimum dram shop insurance coverage in the amount of $300,000.00 in order to obtain and/or renew a license to sell alcohol in Rhode Island.  In doing so, this law requires those negligently selling or serving alcohol to take meaningful personal responsibility for their negligence.

We are especially proud of the efforts of Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair attorney Zachary Mandell, who is serving his term as President of the Rhode Island Association for Justice, and whose leadership was instrumental in advancing this important legislation for all Rhode Islanders.

[1] National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2016, December). Alcohol-impaired driving: 2015 data. (Traffic Safety Facts. DOT HS 812 350). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration., available at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/Publication/812350 (last visited July 28, 2017).