November 30, 2012

Chicago Area Bar On Probation After Late Night Fight

by Levin & Perconti

The Chicago Tribune reported that Casa Azteca, a bar in Des Plaines has been ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and comply with several other conditions before the city will lift its liquor license suspension. The Mayor of Des Plaines first shut down the bar and suspended its liquor license in late October after a huge fight broke out in the parking lot of the bar. Two Waukegan men were responsible for the fight and were later arrested on felony charges, even though the fight involved around 50 people. Allegedly, the fight broke out over an argument about a patron’s girlfriend.

The owner is also required to install security cameras both inside and outside of the bar, and save all such recordings for a specified period of time. Additionally, Casa Azteca must employ off duty police officers during peak times, and their bartenders must complete a training course, submit fingerprints and have background checks.
Fights and accidents involving liquor consumption are often linked to laws called dram shop acts. Dram shop is just the legal term for a bar. Therefore, dram shop acts are just laws about bars and who will be liable when a patron harms another after becoming intoxicated. In Illinois, our legislature has stated that the Illinois Dram Shop Act is intended “to place responsibility for damages caused by intoxicants on those who profit from the sale of alcohol…[and] to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people from the dangers of traffic in liquor.” Because consuming alcohol is a part of life for many adults, they must be aware that their actions while intoxicated often have consequences for people other than themselves.

Unfortunately, bar fights like this one in Des Plaines are not an uncommon occurrence and they can lead to lawsuits. Our Chicago injury attorneys understand that alcohol can cause bar patrons to act up and become aggressive, lashing out at others who are otherwise peacefully enjoying themselves at the bar. It is also the duty of the bar not to over serve their customers so that they reach an unhealthy and dangerous level of intoxication. Always be aware while at a bar, and know that bartenders are often required to attend rigorous training to ensure that they do not over serve any customers, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Dram shop acts exist to protect bar goers from the negligence of the bar staff and its managers. If you have been involved in a bar fight and believe that you were the victim of a bar over serving its customers or of an aggressive patron, please contact our offices to find out your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.