A Hillsboro County, Florida civil trial jury unanimously approved $716.5 million penalty to a convenience store owner that allowed a minor to buy alcohol.
A very hefty amount to pay, but the said underage customer of the store ended up killing a 32-year-old man when he drove under the influence of the alcoholic drink he bought from the retailer. The store owner gained a wrongful death violation and was ordered to pay the family of the victim amounting to hundreds of millions.
In the course of the trial, testimonies from witnesses strengthened the evidences against the convenience store which has long been known for selling beer, wine and liquor to minors. As a result of their negligence, a family lost a son. To show the whole community that selling alcohol to individuals below 21 years old is a serious offense, the jury decided to make the store owners accountable for the unfortunate death and pay the earlier said amount to the family as compensation for their loss.
Florida is one of the states that have adopted an ordinance that allows victims of intoxicated drivers the freedom to hold sellers of alcohol responsible for their loss. The “dram shop law” makes stores, party hosts, bars, and even homeowners liable when accidents occur as a result of their neglect in tolerating underage drinking or letting people they know to drink continuously despite obvious signs of heavy intoxication.
The decision in the Florida case should be noted especially by establishments who violate laws against underage drinking. Authorities hope that with the implementation of the dram shop law, stores and their staff and concerned individuals will become more responsible when it comes to selling alcoholic beverages to avoid unnecessary consequences on their part.