It is a bartender's (or bar owner's) duty to keep his or her patrons safe. That often means cutting people off if they've had too much to drink.
While it may be unfair to hold one adult responsible for the actions of another, watching out for others is a moral responsibility most people happily oblige.
And soon, it may be deemed a legal responsibility: A French bar owner was recently charged with manslaughter after a patron of his establishment died from excessive alcohol intake.
The customer, a 57-year-old man identified as Renaud, reportedly drank a mixture of 56 shots and shooters at Le Starter in an attempt to break a record set by a previous patron.
He'd been made aware of the record by a blackboard on the wall that displayed the name of the previous record holder and number of the shots taken (55).
According to witnesses, Renaud, who'd already consumed 14 shots prior to starting the challenge, proceeded to drink 30 shooters in a single minute.
By the end of the night, he'd drank more than a liter of alcohol.
According to Renaud's daughter, the bar owner whispered, “12 more to go,” in Renaud's ear in an attempt to goad him on.
After being carried home by his daughter, Renaud went into cardiac arrest; he died the next day at the hospital.
The prosecuting lawyer, Antoine Portal, said,
It is not known whether he would still be alive if he had not drunk the last 12 shots, but by making down those last shots, he was left with no chance. It was a case of inciting someone to consume. That's an extremely serious mistake for a bar owner.
The bar owner's lawyers denied the allegations and insisted “the customers are responsible for themselves,” but whether the defense will hold up legally remains unknown.