Eaton v. Ruggles
The Dram Shop Act does not provide a cause of action for loss of spousal consortium. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant, Tia Juan's Margaritas, sold alcohol to Trevor Ruggles when he was intoxicated in September 2010 and that the plaintiff passenger, Clark Eaton, was injured when Ruggles lost control of his motor vehicle. The plaintiffs' complaint alleged negligent training and supervision, reckless service and loss of consortium. The defendants moved to strike. In Poulin v. Laboy, a 2011 decision, Judge A. Susan Peck wrote that Public Act 03-91 "eliminated any common-law negligence causes of action by individuals entitled to recover under the Dram Shop Act, making action pursuant to the Act the exclusive remedy for a seller's negligence." Here, the court found that the clear language of the Dram Shop Act precludes the plaintiffs' common-law allegations of negligent training and supervision, and the court granted the defendants' motion to strike. The plaintiffs' complaint adequately alleged that the defendants are vicariously responsible for reckless service of alcohol, because it can be inferred that the servers of alcohol were motivated to serve their employers and that the service of alcohol furthered the defendants' business. The court denied the motion to strike the vicarious responsibility for reckless service of alcohol count. The court rejected the plaintiff spouse's claim that she has been denied the services, care, society, affection, companionship and consortium of her husband, Clark Eaton. The Dram Shop Act provides the exclusive remedy for negligence causes of action against the seller of alcohol. It does not provide a cause of action to a spouse for loss of consortium, and the court granted the defendants' motion to strike.