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Law of Hospitality: Negligence


Hospitality law is a part of a law that governs the operations of the industry. In this paper, the focus will be on negligence found in the law of tort and the decisions made by the courts that are likely to affect the hospitality industry. A tort is an erroneous act that causes damage to a person or property and could attract a monetary claim by the person to who these damages have been caused. The law makes specific provisions that must be adhered to by the industry. For instance, some laws prohibit bar owners from selling alcohol to over-range customers and also put them on notice not to allow drunkard persons to drive. This will help in reduction to road accidents that are caused by drunk drivers. Negligence occurs when a person fails to exercise due care thus resulting in damages to someone else, where such damages can be awarded monetary compensation.

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In the law of tort, the injured party is known as the plaintiff while the party that is said to have committed the injury is known as the defendant. For a plaintiff to succeed in their case, they must be able to demonstrate that there existed improper conduct on the side of the defendant that caused them to harm to such magnitude as they claim. Such conduct needs to be a legal obligation that the defendant ought to have undertaken. Where such proof is inadequate, then the court decides that no tort was committed by the defendant.

Jay Feinman a lecturer at the School of Law at Rutgers University notes that the main idea behind negligence is the fact that people are expected to be reasonably careful with their actions considering the likelihood that exist they could lead to severe harm or injury to other members of the society. A test to unravel whether the actions by the defendant constituted negligence should be both objective and subjective. That is it should be purposeful as possible.

Where a defendant subjectively or willingly leads the plaintiff into a substantial risk that could lead to loss or damage, then the value claimed ought to be awarded to the plaintiff. In most times, the plaintiff is going to get their claim if they are able to prove that the damage can attract a pecuniary loss. That is a loss that has a monetary value that can be attached to it as compensation.

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The case of Nunez Versus Carrabba's Italian Grill Incorporation

Negligence is such an act that is placed under tort. For example, there is the case of Nunez versus Carrabba's Italian Grill Incorporation. In the case, the plaintiff was at the age of eighteen years, and had consumed a number of alcoholic drinks at Carrabba bar and later on moved to another bar. He as well consumed more alcohol in the bar and was involved in an accident as he drove to his friend's house. The plaintiff brought a case against the defendant accusing the defendant of selling him alcohol despite knowing he was underage, thus contributing to injuring the plaintiff.

The court declined a request by the defendant for summary judgment, ruling that the defendant had a legal responsibility to establish that the plaintiff was underage. In making the law the legislature had made recognition of the challenges that would arise due to selling alcohol to underage people. The legislature had put in place a mechanism to guide the selling of liquor and violation of such law could attract a fine (Spina).

In this case, the jury may be required to establish the activities surrounding the damage and indicate whether there was negligence or not. Although the plaintiff had caused an accident by being drunk, the jury argued that the owner and those who operated the bar had the legal responsibility to investigate the age of their clients. In fact, the jury established that the plaintiff was an employee of the bar and although they had not sold too much alcohol to the plaintiff, they could be held liable legally for selling alcohol to young adults. The law establishes that bar operators shall be liable for any offense that is committed by a minor for allowing them to consume alcohol.

In regard to the case above, the essay will focus on considerations of the duty to care that a licensed commercial business selling alcoholic drinks is obligated to an underage person. To minors, a licensed establishment has a duty to desist from selling them any alcoholic beverage, not considering them at all and being unmindful of them being intoxicated or not. A minor is considered a person below the age of twenty-one and unlike in the case of the adults where only the level of their intoxication matters, for an underage that is not considered. It is under that law that the case was handled (Spina).

The Case of Patterson Versus Thunder Pass, Incorporation

However, it is not always that the court will hold the defendant liable. Where it is established that the defendant had attempted to save the plaintiff from the injuries but the plaintiff's actions contributed to the injuries, then the defendant does not carry any liability. That is like it happened in the case of Patterson versus Thunder Pass, Incorporation. Roque the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time she left the bar belonging to the defendant. She got into her car and drove to the parking barrier.

However, a bar attendant stopped her, took the keys, and called over a Taxi which unfortunately failed to come. The bar attendant then drove Roque home himself and then went back to the bar. Nevertheless, Ms. Roque made her way back to the bar one hour later and took off with her car but caused an accident on her way home. A summary judgment was issued in favor of the bar arguing that there was no negligence on the part of the defendant as it was reasonably unforeseeable that Ms. Roque would have made a return to the bar within an hour.

As depicted from the two cases above, bars and restaurants should ensure that those of their clients who consume alcohol are first and foremost adults. Failure to establish this will be taken as negligence on the part of the bar owners and will be liable for a claim made against them. However, should it be established that they sought to know the age but were deceived that all were adults then the law of tort may fail to take root in such a case. Again, it is the responsibility of bar owners not to allow their drunken customers to drive. Should they sell more alcohol that is above expected blood level, they are more likely to be held liable.

The jury was to establish whether Tavern in this case had taken the precautions that they ought to have taken to avoid any negligence that may have been present. Bearing in mind the activities that were before the accident during that time, it could properly be established that due care was already taken. The tavern had helped Ms. Roque get home safely although she opted to come back and thus the bar would not take responsibility (WINTHROP).

The court establishes that Dawn Roque was already intoxicated and the defendant had realized that and taken precautionary measures to save the public. However, Ms. Roque complicated things by coming back for her car and thereby causing an accident. The court established that the defendant had done their part of protecting public safety they could not be held liable for the actions of Ms. Roque (WINTHROP). In any case, the person who bears the liability should be Ms. Roque.

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