In Dram Shop Laws – Improving Public Safety, dram shop expert witness Maj. Mark Willingham of Alcohol Solutions, LLC, writes:
Standards for dram shop lawsuits vary widely among states. Those standards include prohibitions of service to intoxicated, visibly intoxicated or obviously intoxicated patrons or when it should have been known that the patron was intoxicated. One state prohibits service to a drunken person in a criminally negligent manner. Another allows a civil action when the service was to a person clearly intoxicated. Several states require proof that the alcohol service was done in a reckless manner or that the alcohol was provided with reckless disregard to the rights of others. Other states require proof that the patron was intoxicated to the extent he or she presented a clear and present danger to self or other. Florida allows a dram shop action only when the alcohol service was to someone habitually addicted to alcohol. This standard is particularly difficult because alcoholics do not carry or present identification cards identifying them as such and rarely make self-admissions to bartenders.