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  1. #1

    Default Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    My fiancee is a bartender who was working today. She checked every ID all day long (video evidence supports this) however apparently a customer who was of legal age then furnished some of the drinks to a minor who was in a back table area and not physically at the bar. The police showed up and questioned both bar tenders and took their information but did not issue any citations but indicated they could eventually. Is this correct? I told her not to speak to them again without representation. Do the bar tenders have any liability here (Ohio)?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    If the state could prove she knew the customer she was serving the drinks was supplying the drinks to underage persons then she could have a problem.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    Quote Quoting MVPontbriand
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    I told her not to speak to them again without representation.
    That was wise but she is likely to forget the warning under the stress of police questioning unless you show her the serious consequences of saying even one word.

    Both of you sit down and watch these videos:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GjCJ6Xqjg0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FENubmZGj8

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    Quote Quoting MVPontbriand
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    The police showed up and questioned both bar tenders and took their information but did not issue any citations but indicated they could eventually. Is this correct?
    Is it correct that, at some unknown time in the future, the police could issue a citation for some unknown crime? Sure. In the abstract, virtually anything is possible.


    Quote Quoting MVPontbriand
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    Do the bar tenders have any liability here (Ohio)?
    Nothing in your post suggests your fiancee committed any crime. Of course, your post is obviously second hand and only provides very limited information, so we have no way of knowing how others might interpret what happened or how the information that is unknown to us might influence things.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    If the state could prove she knew the customer she was serving the drinks was supplying the drinks to underage persons then she could have a problem.
    In reading through the Ohio Statue that is exactly the way I read it - that they’d have to prove that one of the bar tenders KNEW that the patron was furnishing alcohol to the minor. Since she never served the minor, and did not know this was occurring it seems to me she should be okay especially since they didn’t issue any citations at the time. I basically told her if they want to have another chat about this, that likely means they still don’t have enough (and they’re fishing for more statements) and it’s time for our Attorney to join any further conversations on this matter. Appreciate the input btw!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    4301.21 Rules for sale of beer or intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises.

    The sale of beer or intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises is subject to the following restrictions, in addition to those imposed by the rules and orders of the division of liquor control:

    (A) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, beer or intoxicating liquor may be served to a person not seated at a table unless there is reason to believe that the beer or intoxicating liquor so served will be consumed by a person under twenty-one years of age.


    Proving such "In the scope of employment" personal liability is a rare event. That would basically take the underage person to rat out the bartender as being in on it?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    Quote Quoting RJR
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    That would basically take the underage person to rat out the bartender as being in on it?
    There are other ways to prove it. If the state's agents observed the server continuing to serve alcohol to a patron after the state agent saw the server notice the patron pass off those same drinks to the underage customers, for example, that would do it. That was essentially the fact pattern that got a bar and a server in trouble in my state. But it's not easy to prove in most situations.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    Quote Quoting RJR
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    4301.21 Rules for sale of beer or intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises.

    The sale of beer or intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises is subject to the following restrictions, in addition to those imposed by the rules and orders of the division of liquor control:

    (A) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, beer or intoxicating liquor may be served to a person not seated at a table unless there is reason to believe that the beer or intoxicating liquor so served will be consumed by a person under twenty-one years of age.


    Proving such "In the scope of employment" personal liability is a rare event. That would basically take the underage person to rat out the bartender as being in on it?
    In addition to what "Taxing Matters" wrote, "reason to believe" is a negligence standard. The server need not "be in on it" or have actual knowledge that an underage person will consume the alcohol. If a "reasonable person" under the circumstances would have known, then that is sufficient under this statute.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    In addition to what "Taxing Matters" wrote, "reason to believe" is a negligence standard. The server need not "be in on it" or have actual knowledge that an underage person will consume the alcohol. If a "reasonable person" under the circumstances would have known, then that is sufficient under this statute.
    Whether or not it was reasonable to know would be based on a whole lot of factors. If the bar was crowded and the bartender had no direct line of sight to the minor in question it would not be reasonable for the bartender to have known. Even if the bar was not very crowded and the bartender had a direct line of sight to the minor, it still might not have been reasonable to assume that the person was a minor. However, if not crowded and a direct line of sight, plus the person looked like a minor then it clearly would be reasonable for the bartender to have known.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bartender Liability (Ohio)

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    There are other ways to prove it. If the state's agents observed the server continuing to serve alcohol to a patron after the state agent saw the server notice the patron pass off those same drinks to the underage customers, for example, that would do it. That was essentially the fact pattern that got a bar and a server in trouble in my state. But it's not easy to prove in most situations.
    Sure, that goes without saying, an independent witness. As you say, that's hard to prove though.

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