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Personal Injury Law

Negligence

LegalSpeak: Delgado v. Trax Bar & Grill (Cal. 2005)

Even when proprietors such as those described above have no duty under Ann M. and Sharon P. to provide a security guard or undertake other similarly burdensome preventative measures, the proprietor is not necessarily insulated from liability under the special relationship doctrine. A proprietor that has no duty under Ann M. and Sharon P. to hire a security guard or to undertake other similarly burdensome preventative measures still owes a duty of due care to a patron or invitee by virtue of the special relationship, and there are circumstances (apart from the failure to provide a security guard or undertake other similarly burdensome preventative measures) that may give rise to liability based upon the proprietor’s special relationship….

Moreover, as especially relevant to the present case, California decisions long have recognized, under the special relationship doctrine, that a proprietor who serves intoxicating drinks to customers for consumption on the premises must “exercis[e] reasonable care to protect his patrons from injury at the hands of fellow guests”, and that such a duty “arises … when one or more of the following circumstances exists: (1) A tavern keeper allowed a person on the premises who has a known propensity for fighting; (2) the tavern keeper allowed a person to remain on the premises whose conduct had become obstreperous and aggressive to such a degree the tavern keeper knew or ought to have known he endangered others; (3) the tavern keeper had been warned of danger from an obstreperous patron and failed to take suitable measures for the protection of others; (4) the tavern keeper failed to stop a fight as soon as possible after it started; (5) the tavern keeper failed to provide a staff adequate to police the premises; and (6) the tavern keeper tolerated disorderly conditions.”



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