Tavern owners incensed by appellate court ruling
New Jersey tavern owners are incensed at an appellate court ruling that says they can be prosecuted in drunken driving accidents without serving the dangerous drivers.
The appellate court's ruling stems from a fatal accident involving a 19-year-old drunken driver that had only been served soft drinks. Under the table, the teenager was using his own liquor to spike the drinks.
"I thought it was a horrible ruling," says Lewis Rothbar of the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association. "If a person comes to your door and you don't let him in ? do you have a responsibility? It doesn't seem to be fair."
The three-judge panel said the tavern's operator has experience spotting drunkenness and had a duty to protect the teen and others by not letting him drive. Tavern owners say that isn't their job, though.
"Now they're telling me I have to spot them and stop them ? I'm not the police officer," says tavern owner Ray Flynn.