Dram Shop

Walters Meadows Richardson, PLLC (WMR Defense) defends taverns, bars, restaurants, liquor stores and other associations in the business of selling alcoholic beverages against allegations of violations of Dram Shop Civil Liability and Criminal Penalty State Statutes.  Our attorneys protect these defendants from those who injure themselves or others under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Through careful examination, the attorneys at WMR Defense determine the cause of injury so as to protect the organization or individual against which the allegation was made, while also ensuring that they are guiding the defendant through every step of litigation.

WMR Defense has represented local businesses, regional franchisees, and national chains in the defense of liquor liability actions. Kentucky's Dram Shop Act is rapidly evolving through decisions by Kentucky's appellate courts. Our attorneys stay up-to-date on court opinions, legislative acts, local ordinances and industry regulations that impact the interests of our clients. At WMR Defense, our attorneys track developments within the service industry to keep our clients apprised of industry standards to implement within their service practices. Walters Meadows Richardson takes a comprehensive approach to Dram Shop actions to effectively provide successful resolutions for our clients. 


Representative Matters

WMR defended a local Ashland area establishment against claims of over-service to Joshua Keen. Keen was later involved in a head on collision with another vehicle, killing himself and injuring the driver and two passengers in the other vehicle. The Estate of Mr. Keen as well as the driver and his passengers brought suit against RJ Kahuna’s. The other driver and two passengers settled before trial for a fraction of their initial demands. The Estate of Keen proceeded to trial. After two days at trial, they settled for the amount offered prior to trial. Tope et al. v. RJ Kahuna’s et al., Boyd Circuit Court; Division II; Civil Action No. 11-CI-325.

WMR represented a franchisee of TGI Friday’s and its franchisor Carlson Restaurants in an action arising from the service of alcohol to Joe Taylor and his passenger, William Watson. Mr. Taylor and Mr. Watson alleged they were served in excess of two LITs each at the Paducah TGI Friday’s location and then continued to at least two other establishments where they were served and/or purchased alcohol. The vehicle operated by Mr. Taylor was involved in a one-vehicle accident later that night. Mr. Watson was ejected and rendered quadriplegic as a result of his injuries. John W. Walters vigorously defended TGI Friday’s on the evidence that the only receipt that matched Mr. Taylor’s and Mr. Watson’s version of events indicated the service of only two LITs, one each to Mr. Taylor and Mr. Watson. Plaintiff’s counsel in the action, David Oakes, responsible for two of the landmark dram shop decisions in Kentucky, focused his efforts on TGI Friday’s and its employees. Utilizing experts from across the nation in our defense, the action was settled before trial to the satisfaction of TGI Friday’s. Watson v. Ohio Valley Bistros, McCracken Circuit Court; Division II; Civil Action No. 10-CI-1400.

WMR represented a package liquor store in a suit brought by the children of Joel and Lavada Rowland, who were killed in a head-on collision with a vehicle operated by Brett Whittaker. Mr. Whittaker allegedly consumed alcohol at a local Mexican restaurant then purchased additional alcohol from Liquor Mart. The accident occurred less than five miles from the store. Prior to initiation of the suit, Brett Whittaker settled with the children, executing a release providing him indemnity for any claims arising out of this accident. After filing a Third Party Complaint, WMR Defense filed a successful summary judgment motion, arguing that the release executed by Mr. Whittaker released Liquor Mart based on applicable statutory language and that evidence developed in discovery indicated that Mr. Whittaker had not yet consumed any alcohol purchased at Liquor Mart at the time of the accident. Rowland, et al. v. Liquor Mart of Lancaster, et al. Garrard Circuit Court, Division I; Civil Action No. 11-CI-241.

WMR defended a well-known local establishment in a dram shop action arising from the service of alcohol to Paul Haney. After leaving the establishment, Mr. Haney ran a red light and struck University of Kentucky student Samuel Mullins, who was operating a motorcycle. Mr. Mullins sustained numerous broken bones resulting in extensive medical treatment. Focusing on the establishment’s reputation for providing transportation for its customers and the social media account of Mr. Mullins, settlement was reached at mediation to the satisfaction of the establishment. Mullins v. Pouty Baby, LLC,  Fayette Circuit Court, Division VIII; Civil Action No. 11-CI-525.

WMR defended Johnny Dargavell on claims that he was drunk when he allegedly ran a red light and struck the vehicle occupied by husband and wife, Brian and Brandy Artley. The Artleys also sued The Bait Shop a local bar that Mr. Dargavell frequented, alleging Mr. Artley was over-served prior to the accident. The Artleys sought damages from Mr. Dargavell in excess of his policy limits. However, after extensive discovery concerning the background of the Artleys, a settlement was reached within policy limits. Artley v. Dargavell, et al. Madison Circuit Court; Division II; Civil Action No. 12-CI-00742.