A divided Iowa Supreme Court today turned down a mother’s lawsuit against a bar that served her underage son. Colleen Dorian says a Des Moines bar served her 19-year-old son drinks until he got into his truck, drove away, hit a utility pole and died. Iowa’s dram-shop law gives some protection against suits by patrons who drink and then blame the bar, but Dorian charged that Hazel’s Blue Sky Diner had frequently served her underage son till he was drunk and she’d gone there to complain. The high court in today’s decision said there’s a bit of a Catch-22 in state law…to recover damages for loss of a minor, that child must be under 18 — and Dorian’s son was nineteen, too old for a loss-of-companionship suit under state law, even though he was too young to be drinking before his fatal crash. Three justices, including Chief Justice Louis Lavorato, dissented from the ruling, saying while the dramshop law gives bars some liability protection, it’s not meant to shield them from the results of negligence.
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