The drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon village should have only taken four hours, but Dave wanted to travel over the old Route 66 across Arizona. We stopped at every little town along the way, mostly to stand in front of boarded up hotels and filling stations that had given up the ghost once the Interstate blew through.
One dusty bar’s back door opened onto some old railroad tracks. The bartender said that the building had once been a coal depot with those service tracks leading off of a main line that had long since been abandoned.
Nice bar tender. His name was Teddy.
I told him that we were from Michigan.
“Ever been there?“ I asked.
“Nope,” was all he said.
The TV above the bar was tuned into the Home Shopping Network.
That little bar looked like it had seen better days, but the beer was cold so we stayed. We only had one each since we had to hit the road, but we told Teddy we’d be back after our Grand Canyon hike.
He grunted, and started wiping down tables.
In Michigan, if a bar or restaurant serves a patron too much alcohol and the patron ends up in a motor vehicle crash, the establishment could be sued under Michigan’s Dramshop Act.
The key thing to remember is that, to recover damages, a plaintiff must show that injury or death was caused by the bar or restaurant selling or furnishing alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or a minor. Also, the Act does not provide a remedy to an intoxicated person who injures herself. Only innocent third parties may recover.
The best way to know if you have a dramshop claim is to contact an attorney who has experience in this area of the law.
When Dave and I drove out of town, it was late afternoon. We arrived at Grand Canyon Village after dark. I walked to the edge of the canyon rim. In front of me was the void – a vast expanse of blackness that reported nothing. I stood there alone for a few minutes.
The wind was blowing hard, and it was cold.