Private clubs can run into trouble if an over-served member causes damage to property or a third party, so it's important to discuss liability with a local attorney and insurance provider, writes lawyer James Semple. "Over the last several decades, courts and legislatures have gradually made alcohol vendors pay for others' injuries in order to deter drunken driving and to provide a remedy for the innocent victims of drunken driving accidents," says Semple. "Whether by legislation or judicial opinion, the states have taken varying positions as to who pays, who is protected, what elements are required to prove a case, how an intoxicated person is defined, whether there are safe harbors and what they are, and what defenses apply."

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