William Mitchell Law Review

Publication Information

30 William Mitchell Law Review 613 (2003-2004)


Minnesota's Civil Damages Act is a creature of statute without counterpart in common law. The Act, referred to as the “Dram Shop Act,” is highly penal in nature and is intended to provide remedies for damages attributable to commercial lenders' illegal sale of intoxicating liquors. Since the Act's inception more than ninety-two years ago, Minnesota courts traditionally have construed it in a strict fashion. Over its long evolution, the “duet” of legislative action and court interpretation served to clarify several ambiguities within the Act. Despite precise and oftentimes circumstantial application, certain ambiguities remain. The following article will--in the context of recent Minnesota Dram Shop decisions--analyze the ambiguities in Dram Shop law and recommend clarifications in these areas.