P was drinking in D's bar beside a group of drunk American Indians (they had been at the bar for over 2 hours by this point).
There were words exchanged between the two groups, and a brawl broke out in the bar.
P was injured in the brawl and suffered retrograde amnesia. P sued D in negligence.
There is a statute that provides that bars will not serve drunk people. There is a regulation that says that bars should take measures to prevent bar fights.
Trial court found for D.
OR Supreme Court reversed, remanded.
What should a court consider in deciding to extend liability in negligence for violation of a statute?
A court must consider the applicability of the violated statute through analysis of the plain meaning of the statute and the legislative intent in order to determine if liability in negligence should be extended to the D.
A violation of a statute or regulation constitutes negligence as a matter of law when the violation results in injury to a member of the class of persons intended to be protected by the legislation and when the harm is of the kind which the statute or regulation was enacted to prevent.
When a legislative body has generalized a standard from the experience of a community and prohibits conduct that is likely to cause harm, the courts accept the formulation.
The statute prevents making alcohol available to persons already visibly intoxicated. It is impossible to tell whether the P's injuries would have happened whether or not the drunk person got more alcohol since they were already drunk and a danger.
The regulation, however, is on point. The commission intended to prevent certain abuses in bars and the P was supposed to be protected by this regulation.
P was within the class of persons meant to be protected and the harm caused to P was the kind the regulation was intended to prevent. Thus, he should be able to bring a claim in negligence.