Pennsylvania Liquor Liability Contribution Action – Defense Wins Dismissal

In a case of first impression in the PA US District Court, Pittsburgh colleagues Miles Kirshner & Kyle McGee successfully argued a contribution action by an insurer of a drunk driver against our restaurant licensee was not actionable. The insurer paid $600,000 on behalf of their vehicle operator to resolve the claim of his passenger. The driver and passenger had been customers at our client’s restaurant and the insurer seeking contribution contended the operator was over-served.

Miles & Kyle argued the cause of action asserted against our licensee was not cognizable under the Pennsylvania Liquor Code, as the plaintiff insurer and its insured driver were not “third persons” permitted to recover damages under the Liquor Code. The court agreed reying on the protection afforded to licensees under the PA Liquor Code which “… only allows third persons to recover against a liquor license holder… for the injuries inflicted upon them” (emphasis from the court).

The claim professional commented: “This is a fantastic outcome!!!! You guys did an excellent job with the strategy that you proposed. I can’t wait to broadcast this result and take a smidge of credit.”