Kalenka v. Jadon, Inc.

[TORT LAW]

In Kalenka v. Jadon, Inc.,[1] the supreme court held that lack of direct evidence of a bar patron’s intoxication is not necessarily fatal at the summary judgment stage to a claim under the dram shop statute.[2] Morrell went drinking at a bar and fatally stabbed Kalenka in a fight later that night.[3] Kalenka’s estate representative brought a wrongful death action against the bar, claiming that the bar violated the dram shop statute by serving Morrell alcohol when he was drunk.[4] Under the dram shop statute, a bar serving alcohol to a drunk patron is civilly liable for damages caused by the patron’s intoxication.[5] Nevertheless, the bar won its summary judgment motion because there was no direct evidence of Morrell’s drunken state at the bar.[6] On appeal, Kalenka’s estate argued that a jury could have inferred that Morrell was visibly intoxicated based on his later behavior.[7] The supreme court reversed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that if an issue of material fact remained, summary judgment should not be granted.[8] Here, according to the court, there was still the question of material fact regarding whether the bar servers should have noticed Morrell’s intoxication.[9] Reversing the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that lack of direct evidence of a bar patron’s intoxication is not necessarily fatal at the summary judgment stage to a claim under the dram shop statute.[10]

 



[1] 305 P.3d 346 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 352.

[3] Id. at 347.

[4] Id. at 348.

[5] Id. at 349.

[6] Id. at 350.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id. at 352.

Kalenka v. Jadon, Inc.

[TORT LAW]

In Kalenka v. Jadon, Inc.,[1] the supreme court held that lack of direct evidence of a bar patron’s intoxication is not necessarily fatal at the summary judgment stage to a claim under the dram shop statute.[2] Morrell went drinking at a bar and fatally stabbed Kalenka in a fight later that night.[3] Kalenka’s estate representative brought a wrongful death action against the bar, claiming that the bar violated the dram shop statute by serving Morrell alcohol when he was drunk.[4] Under the dram shop statute, a bar serving alcohol to a drunk patron is civilly liable for damages caused by the patron’s intoxication.[5] Nevertheless, the bar won its summary judgment motion because there was no direct evidence of Morrell’s drunken state at the bar.[6] On appeal, Kalenka’s estate argued that a jury could have inferred that Morrell was visibly intoxicated based on his later behavior.[7] The supreme court reversed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that if an issue of material fact remained, summary judgment should not be granted.[8] Here, according to the court, there was still the question of material fact regarding whether the bar servers should have noticed Morrell’s intoxication.[9] Reversing the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that lack of direct evidence of a bar patron’s intoxication is not necessarily fatal at the summary judgment stage to a claim under the dram shop statute.[10]

 



[1] 305 P.3d 346 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 352.

[3] Id. at 347.

[4] Id. at 348.

[5] Id. at 349.

[6] Id. at 350.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id. at 352.