In this case, O'Gara v. Alacci, the driver of a car knocked down the plaintiff, who had wandered into the middle of a parkway after leaving a bar. The plaintiff sued to recover damages for her personal injuries, and contended that the driver of the car handled his car negligently, and therefore bore some resposibility for the accident. The defendant driver, in turn, sued the bar that served alcohol to the plaintiff, asserting that the bar was also somewhat responsible for the accident, because they served alcohol to the plaintiff even after she was obviously drunk.
New York's Dram Shop Act states that anyone who has been injured, whether personally, or even monetarily, due to the intoxication state of another is entitled to recover in contribution from the one who unlawfully caused or added to the intoxication, i.e., after the person was already clearly intoxicated.
In issuing this ruling, the Appellate court rejected the trial court's holding that the bar's duty to abstain from serving alcohol to an already-drunk person runs only to that person; instead, the Appellate court held that this duty also runs to the general public, including the driver of the car that was involved in this pedestrian knockdown.