Wednesday, October 19, 2011
MLS's Charlie Davies Takes Advantage of Stupid American Law
This story is an interesting bit of serendipity because it was just yesterday that I attended a course for my job that is designed to educate and inform workers in the hospitality industry who are responsible for serving alcohol.
In the course we learn about Dram Shop Laws. This is the law that allows a third party to bring a civil suit against an establishment for serving alcohol to a person who caused injury to said person. If I am hit by a drunk driver, I can sue the restaurant, bar, or party host that served him, regardless of whether I was at the same establishment or venue.
What this does is put the onus on servers, bartenders, and proprietors to responsibly serve alcohol. It does NOT put much responsibility on the person drinking.
This is one of the most absurd aspects of United States laws related to alcohol consumption and points to a larger problem we have in this country - namely, that when someone is injured or does something wrong, the blame is rarely placed on the person himself, but rather on some other individual or company (usually the one with the deepest pockets).
That is what seems to be happening with Charlie Davies. Davies was a hot young soccer prospect two years ago. He was making waves with the US National Team and was poised to be picked for the World Cup squad when a fatal accident the night before the final US qualifying match changed his life. Davies was severely injured and didn't return to soccer for nearly a year. At this point he's playing in MLS, but not at quite the same level he was before the accident.
He was hit by a drunk driver. According to the article linked above, he is suing the restaurant that served the drunk driver as well as Red Bull, the company that hosted the party where the woman drank to the point of intoxication.
It's a difficult balance to strike because I think there is a point at which a person serving an intoxicated customer is pushing things too far and intoxicated people (the ones who've had 12 drinks on the night, not 5 or 6) are incapable of making rational decisions. But I resent that in my job I can be held both criminally and civilly responsible for what one of my guests does when he leaves the restaurant. It puts me in the position of having to be the world's police. You know what? I'm just a waiter.