RECENT TEXAS SUPREME COURT DECISIONS IN DRAM SHOP ACT CASES
20281, Inc. v. Parker, No. 06-0574 (Tex. Mar. 28, 2008)(Jefferson)(Dram Shop Act, provider liability, defense)
20801, INC. v. JOHN L. PARKER; from Harris County; 14th district (14-05-00250-CV, 194 S.W.3d 556, 04-11-06)
The Court reverses in part the court of appeals' judgment and remands the case to the trial court.
Chief Justice Jefferson delivered the opinion of the Court.
CASES FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS IN WHICH SUPREME COURT DENIED
LINDA SHEFFIELD INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS THE ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF CODY JAYTON
RISTER AND CALVIN RISTER v. JAN MICHAEL DRAKE; from Stephens County; 11th district
(11-06-00236-CV, 255 SW3d 779, 05-22-08) (survival and wrongful death claims arising from death in a motor
vehicle, alcohol and minors, negligent entrustment claim, Dram Shop Act, judicial admission as SJ evidence)
Sheffield's theory of liability would, in essence, make IGA strictly liable in this situation because it would extend
IGA's liability beyond its control. Once Mark purchased the beer and took it home, IGA and Bandy had no
further control over it. They never had control over Stephanie or Brent. This lack of control precludes the
imposition of vicarious liability. See F.F.P. Operating Partners v. Duenez, 237 S.W.3d 680, 686 (Tex. 2007).
Even at common law, alcohol providers have not been held to such a standard. The historical rule was that
alcohol providers owed no duty to third persons for injuries caused by the provision of alcohol. Smith v. Sewell,
858 S.W.2d 350, 352 (Tex. 1993). In 1987, the Texas Supreme Court altered the absolute rule of no liability to
create a duty on dram shops to not serve alcoholic beverages to a person it knows or should know is
intoxicated. El Chico Corp. v. Poole, 732 S.W.2d 306, 310 (Tex. 1987). Although the supreme court
recognized a new duty, it is important to note that the duty was measured at the time of sale when the provider
had control and that this duty did not impose responsibility for the consequences of future actions beyond the
Jayton's consumption of alcohol is too remote from Bandy and IGA's actions to impose liability. The mere fact
that an IGA employee purchased beer from the store and gave the beer to his wife who then gave the beer to
her brother-in-law who then shared the beer with his friends, one of whom subsequently drove while intoxicated,
does not make Bandy or IGA liable as a provider. Sheffield's first issue is overruled. This holding makes it
unnecessary for us to reach Bandy and IGA's cross-issue.