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This is an interesting case.  The Birmingham News reported in its May 27 edition that Patsy Hamaker has sued her employer, the Furnace, as a result of a single car collision which occurred after work one evening.  According to the article, the club encourages dancers to increase liquor sales by giving them a percentage of the drink sales.  As a result, Ms. Hamaker allegedly became highly intoxicated and was allowed to leave work in that state.

Without knowing more facts, it is difficult to assess whether the Furnace would have liability in this situation.  Surely, the club’s owners will deny the allegations.  Furthermore, even if they agree that they encouraged their dancers to increase drink sales of customers, they will most certainly argue that they do not encourage their dancers to actually drink the beverages and get drunk.

While I would not argue that this is a frivolous case, it will definitely lead to such arguments simply given the facts, and the tort reformers are probably licking their chops.  They will argue that the employee should be responsible and not get intoxicated.  But, this is a business which allegedly encourages intoxication because it leads to more money.  Whether you approve of strip clubs or not, an employer of such a business should never allow an employee to leave work intoxicated.  In fact, the employer should have a duty not to allow an employee to leave work intoxicated.  This should be the case not only to protect the employee but, also, to protect the other motorists. 

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