Spring 2013 Newsletter

By Christopher R. Dunn

Serving alcohol to minors is illegal in every state in the union. Unlike Maryland, most other states impose liability on establishments which serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated patrons who subsequently cause injury to a third party.  Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have some form of dram shop liability.  “Dram shop” laws are named after establishments in 18th Century England that sold gin by the spoonful, called a “dram.”  Dram shop liability laws govern the liability of bars, restaurants, liquor stores and other commercial establishments where alcohol is sold and/or served.  Generally, these laws establish liability arising out of the sale of alcohol to minors or to visibly intoxicated persons who subsequently cause injury or death to a third party, usually involving a car accident while driving under the influence of alcohol. 

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Recent Developments - Maryland
An insured's benefits payable under uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection coverage "shall be reduced" to the extent that the insured recovered benefits under workers' compensation and the workers' compensation provider has not been reimbursed.
Employee's evidence of pregnancy alone, without proof that employer viewed this as a disability, was not enough for an ADA claim by the employee.
Under Fair Labor Standards Act, supervisor can not be liable for unpaid wages unless supervisor meets the "economic reality test," which includes considering whether the supervisor had the ability to hire and fire, determine rate or method of payment, and ownership interest in company.
Recent Developments - Virginia
Liability under Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 for wrongful discharge may extend beyond employer to supervisor.
Covenant not to compete held enforceable only if narrowly drawn to protect employer's legitimate business interests, not unduly burdensome on employee's ability to earn a living, and is not against public policy.
Defendant's assertion in bankruptcy filing that personal injury claim was uncontested did not preclude defendant from later contesting liability in civil proceeding regarding same accident.
Virginia Code § 8.01-44.5 states that punitive damages may be awarded if the evidence proves that the defendant acted with malice toward the plaintiff or the defendant's conduct is found to be so willful and wanton as to evidence a conscious disregard for the rights of others.
With the passing of Senate Bill 984, Virginia lawmakers have created an entirely new statute revolving around settlement notice requirements.
Recent Developments - District of Columbia
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals reaffirmed that an invitation to enter onto a property may be implied from the facts of the case.
Plaintiff attacked by correctional officers while in custody could not bring a claim for negligence and assault and battery based upon the same facts.
Plaintiff could not assume the risk of using defectively designed sporting equipment based solely on his career as professional umpire.
About the Firm

DeCaro Doran Joins Themis Advocates Group: With a focus on continued expansion and increased services to our clients, DeCaro Doran Siciliano Gallagher & DeBlasis has joined other law firms across the United States in the Themis Advocates Group and in launching the website for the Themis Advocates Group.

DeCaro, Doran is also pleased to announce that David M. Seymour has joined the firm as an associate attorney where he has immediately taken over the handling of defense litigation matters in Maryland and the District of Columbia
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