State for Use of Joyce v. Hatfield, No. 92

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtBefore MARBURY; MARKELL
Citation78 A.2d 754,197 Md. 249
Decision Date09 February 1951
Docket NumberNo. 92
PartiesSTATE for Use of JOYCE et al. v. HATFIELD et al.

Page 249

197 Md. 249
78 A.2d 754
STATE for Use of JOYCE et al.
v.
HATFIELD et al.
No. 92.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Feb. 9, 1951.

Page 250

Lewin Wethered and L. Wethered Barroll, Baltimore (Paul Berman, Sigmund Levin, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellants.

Michael Paul Smith, Baltimore, for appellees.

Before MARBURY, C. J., and DELAPLAINE, COLLINS, HENDERSON and MARKELL, JJ.

Page 251

MARKELL, Judge.

This is an appeal from a judgment on demurrer to the declaration in a suit under Lord Campbell's act.

The equitable plaintiff is the widow of James L. Joyce. The declaration alleges [78 A.2d 755] that: Defendants operate a tavern remote from settlements and only accessible to persons operating automobiles. They knowingly sold intoxicating liquors to Frank M. Love, a minor customer, in violation of Article 2B, section 103, of the Code, and knowingly continued to sell to him in further violation of that section after he had become intoxicated, or at a stage of his intoxication, when defendants in the exercise of due care should have known he was becoming helplessly intoxicated by consumption of such liquor and therefore unable to operate the automobile, in which he had driven himself and others to the tavern, safely away from the premises. Defendants should, by the exercise of reasonable care, have known that the natural and probable consequence of their unlawful conduct in continuing to sell to an already intoxicated minor would cause Love to be unfit to operate his automobile. Defendants negligently and recklessly permitted Love to leave the premises operating his automobile while intoxicated. Directly as a result of defendants' negligent and unlawful conduct a collision occurred when Love in this intoxicated condition left the tavern, operating the automobile at an excessive and unlawful speed, so that he drove to the left of the center of the highway, failing to have the automobile under proper control, and suddenly, without warning, collided with the automobile driven by Joyce, while Joyce was in the exercise of due care, and as a result of the collision Joyce died the next day. It is not alleged that defendants knew, or the fact was, that none of the other persons in Love's automobile was able, and in a fit condition, to drive it, or that defendants knew Love intended to drive it.

The demurrer was sustained on the ground that the proximate cause of the collision was not the unlawful

Page 252

sale of liquor but the negligence of the person who drank the liquor.

In Dunlap v. Wagner, 1882, 85 Ind. 529, the plaintiff lent a horse, apparently to a son or other relative, to be driven in a sleigh. The defendant, a liquor dealer, unlawfully sold to the borrower, the driver, liquor which the driver consumed on the defendant's premises. The driver became intoxicated to the state of unconsciousness. '* * * while in this state, and incapable of controlling the horses, [the driver] was placed in the sleigh, and the horses started homeward by [the defendant]'. 85 Ind. 530. The horses ran away, and the plaintiff's horse was killed. In the course of its opinion the court said, 'A man who, in violation of law makes another helplessly drunk, and then places him in a situation where his drunken condition is likely to bring harm to himself or injury to others, may well be deemed guilty of an actionable wrong independently of any statute. But we have a statute which provides that every person shall have a right of action for an injury resulting to person or property against one who shall, by selling intoxicating liquors to another, have caused the intoxication of the person by, or through whom, the injury is done.' 85 Ind. 530. The defendant was held liable, under the statute, for the value of the plaintiff's horse.

We may assume, without deciding, that on such facts the defendant would be 'guilty of an actionable wrong independently of any statute', not, however, for making the driver drunk by selling him liquor, but for placing him bodily, in a state of unconsciousness, in the sleigh and starting the horses. This court has adopted the statement in the...

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73 practice notes
  • Hutchens v. Hankins, No. 8217SC514
    • United States
    • North Carolina Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • June 21, 1983
    ...of the intoxicating beverage. The common law rule was succinctly stated in the off-quoted passage from State for Use of Joyce v. Hatfield, 197 Md. 249, 254, 78 A.2d 754, 756 Apart from statute, the common law knows no right of action against a seller of intoxicating liquors, as such, for "c......
  • Dickinson v. Edwards, No. 50778-3
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 27, 1986
    ...connected to an injury inflicted by the consumer of the alcohol. Halvorson, at 762, 458 P.2d 897; State ex rel. Joyce v. Hatfield, 197 Md. 249, 254, 78 A.2d 754 (1951). As the majority correctly states, Washington courts, in accordance with the weight of authority, have rejected the common ......
  • McClellan v. Tottenhoff, No. 5830
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • June 28, 1983
    ...656 (1965); Nelson v. Steffens, 170 Conn. 356, 365 A.2d 1174 (1976); Wright v. Moffitt, Del., 437 A.2d 554 (1981); State v. Hatfield, 197 Md. 249, 78 A.2d 754 (1951); Holmes v. Circo, 196 Neb. 496, 244 N.W.2d 65 (1976); Hamm v. Carson City Nugget, Inc., 85 Nev. 99, 450 P.2d 358 (1969); Garc......
  • Vesely v. Sager
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 24, 1971
    ...(1945) 63 Ariz. 285, 162 P.2d 125; Howlett v. Doglio (1949) 402 Ill. 311, 83 N.E.2d 708; State for Use of Joyce v. Hatfield (1951) 197 Md. 249, 78 A.2d 754; Seibel v. Leach (1939) 233 Wis. 66, 288 N.W. 774; see 45 Am.Jur.2d, Intoxicating Liquors, § 553; 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors § 430;......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
73 cases
  • Hutchens v. Hankins, No. 8217SC514
    • United States
    • North Carolina Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • June 21, 1983
    ...of the intoxicating beverage. The common law rule was succinctly stated in the off-quoted passage from State for Use of Joyce v. Hatfield, 197 Md. 249, 254, 78 A.2d 754, 756 Apart from statute, the common law knows no right of action against a seller of intoxicating liquors, as such, for "c......
  • Dickinson v. Edwards, No. 50778-3
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 27, 1986
    ...connected to an injury inflicted by the consumer of the alcohol. Halvorson, at 762, 458 P.2d 897; State ex rel. Joyce v. Hatfield, 197 Md. 249, 254, 78 A.2d 754 (1951). As the majority correctly states, Washington courts, in accordance with the weight of authority, have rejected the common ......
  • McClellan v. Tottenhoff, No. 5830
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • June 28, 1983
    ...656 (1965); Nelson v. Steffens, 170 Conn. 356, 365 A.2d 1174 (1976); Wright v. Moffitt, Del., 437 A.2d 554 (1981); State v. Hatfield, 197 Md. 249, 78 A.2d 754 (1951); Holmes v. Circo, 196 Neb. 496, 244 N.W.2d 65 (1976); Hamm v. Carson City Nugget, Inc., 85 Nev. 99, 450 P.2d 358 (1969); Garc......
  • Vesely v. Sager
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 24, 1971
    ...(1945) 63 Ariz. 285, 162 P.2d 125; Howlett v. Doglio (1949) 402 Ill. 311, 83 N.E.2d 708; State for Use of Joyce v. Hatfield (1951) 197 Md. 249, 78 A.2d 754; Seibel v. Leach (1939) 233 Wis. 66, 288 N.W. 774; see 45 Am.Jur.2d, Intoxicating Liquors, § 553; 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors § 430;......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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