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Bar not legally responsible for returning lost car keys to drunken patron

Devon Allison was at the Mo-Doggie's Bar and Grill in Genessee County with friends.  They were served to the point of visible intoxication and asked to leave.   Allison left her keys at the bar, where they were found by an employee.  She returned some time later, obtained her keys from the bartender and was then killed in a fatal car crash.  Her family sued the bar, arguing that it was negligent in returning car keys to a person known to be visibly intoxicated.

The Court dismissed the family's case.  It held that a statute which precludes a visibly intoxicated person from suing the bar that served him or her to intoxication also precludes this lawsuit.  Even though returning the keys may have been negligent, the court deemed the negligence so inherent to the illegal sale of alcohol--and the legislature's limitation on liabilty for an illegal sale--that the family's action was not allowed.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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