Ontiveros v. Borak
In Ontiveros v. Borak, 136 Ariz. 500, 506, 667 P.2d 200, 206 (1983), the Arizona Supreme Court abolished the common law doctrine of tavern owner non-liability, stating that "those who furnish liquor have an obligation or 'duty' to exercise care for the protection of others." 136 Ariz. at 511, 667 P.2d at 211.
Relying on common-law principles and implicit statutory authority, the court held that licensed sellers of alcohol "may be held liable when they sell liquor to an intoxicated patron or customer under circumstances where the licensee or his employees know or should know that such conduct creates an unreasonable risk of harm to others who may be injured either on or off the premises." Id. at 513, 667 P.2d at 213.
Following Ontiveros, the legislature enacted Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 4-311, codifying liability for licensees who sell spirituous liquor to obviously intoxicated purchasers. A.R.S. 4-311 (2012) (originally enacted by 1986 Ariz. Sess. Laws, ch. 329 (2d Reg. Sess.)).
Under 4-311, a licensee is liable for injuries or death if the plaintiff establishes that:
(1) a licensee sold liquor to an "obviously intoxicated" person;
(2) the person consumed the liquor; and;
(3) the liquor consumption was a proximate cause of the injury or death.