A-4228 would prevent drivers convicted of DWI from suing bars which served them for their injuries

TRENTON, NJ – Marcus Rayner, executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, issued the following statement regarding A-4228, which would prohibit drunken drivers from suing restaurateurs for injuries they sustain while driving under the influence of alcohol:

“The New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Voss v. Tranquilino allows a convicted drunk driver to use our court system to profit from the poor choices he made, at the expense of New Jersey’s business community.  Common sense is being downgraded to the point where drunk drivers can now relinquish personal responsibility and collect monetary damages from the restaurateur serving them drinks. 

“This decision was a kick in the gut to New Jersey’s restaurateurs.  A-4228 is a first step toward protecting our business community from the Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of the law. 

“The Court clearly defied the will of the legislature when issuing this decision, and I encourage leadership in both houses to consider A-4228 as soon as possible. 

The case stems from a 2006 incident in which Fredrick Voss crashed his motorcycle into a car and injured himself.  His blood alcohol level was nearly two-and-a-half times the legal limit.  He pled guilty to a DWI charge but later filed suit against Tiffany’s Restaurant in Toms River under the Dram Shop Act.     The New Jersey Supreme Court sided with Voss in a 5-2 decision, stating that existing law does not explicitly bar drunken drivers for suing for their own injuries. 

The legislation is sponsored by Assemblyman John Amodeo (R- Atlantic County).