Betts Patterson Mines

Retail & Hospitality

Betts Patterson Mines’ retail and hospitality team represents restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and other retail businesses in claims involving liquor liability, security issues, food-related health complaints, premises liability and employment complaints.

BPM’s attorneys strive to immediately identify the client objective and work toward promptly and efficiently meeting that objective.  Our attorneys have successfully reached early resolution of numerous claims through summary judgment motions or nominal settlements.  Our team has vigorously defended numerous other claims through the trial and appellate courts throughout Washington.

BPM’s attorneys also advise restaurant and retail clients on real estate matters including real estate transactions.  Since time is of the essence in most real estate transactional matters, the real estate practice places special emphasis upon the expeditious and responsive handling of client requests. 

BPM’s retail and hospitality attorneys have experience and expertise in these and other areas:

  • Defense of restaurants, bars, taverns and nightclubs in alcohol overservice cases
  • Defense of restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and other retail businesses in security and bar fight cases
  • Defense of restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and other retail businesses in premises liability cases, including slip and fall accidents
  • Defense of restaurants and retail businesses in wrongful discharge and employment discrimination cases
  • Consultation regarding employee discipline and termination
  • Consultation regarding management of lay-offs
  • Employee handbook preparation and analysis
  • Commercial, retail and office leasing
  • Environmental and related matters, including compliance with federal, state and local regulations
  • Secured lending, including deeds of trust, mortgages and real estate contracts
  • Landlord-tenant relationships
  • Litigation and arbitration of real property disputes such as quiet title, condemnation, adverse possession and boundary disputes
  • Formation of corporations, limited liability companies, joint ventures and partnerships

Representative Cases

  • Defense of security company in case where plaintiff alleged that guard breached his duty of care by not intervening in assault in mall parking lot. Case was dismissed on summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, with Court agreeing that there was no special relationship between security guard and patron of shopping mall, such that no duty existed and no duty was breached.
  • Defense of a security guard company in a wrongful death case.  Client entered into contract to post security guard at front door of hotel, following attack of hotel employee the prior week.  Guard left his post and assailant returned, again attacking same employee.  Employee experienced severe PTSD and never returned to work.  Almost exactly one year later, after attending a social event for the first time since attacks, employee suffered fatal heart attack.  Employee's family brought wrongful death claim, relying on recent scientific studies causally tying PTSD to fatal cardiac events.  Defense prevailed against the wrongful death claim.
  • Defense of a tavern in an overservice case.  Plaintiff was rendered quadriplegic in a motor vehicle accident.  Plaintiff sued the driver, tavern, and two other bars that served the driver alcohol, alleging that the driver was apparently under the influence of alcohol at the time of service. The tavern successfully excluded hearsay evidence and prevailed on summary judgment.  The tavern prevailed on appeal.  Plaintiff’s petition to the Washington Supreme Court was denied.  Ensley v. Mollmann, 155 Wn. App. 744 (2010.
  • Defended a tavern bartender from case inception through appeal.  The plaintiff was rendered quadriplegic in a motor vehicle accident.  In Ensley v. Mollmann, Plaintiff sued the tavern.  After the tavern prevailed on summary judgment, the plaintiff filed a separate lawsuit against the tavern’s bartender, alleging that he negligently served alcohol to the driver when she was apparently intoxicated. The Washington Court of Appeals (Div. I) reversed the trial court’s denial of the bartender’s motion for summary judgment.  The Court of Appeals agreed that Plaintiff’s claims against the bartender were barred under the res judicata doctrine.  Plaintiff’s lawsuit against the bartender was dismissed on remand.  Ensley v. Pitcher, 152 Wn. App. 891 (2009)
  • Defended a bar through appeal.  Plaintiff suffered personal injuries after a ceiling fan fell and struck him in the head.  Plaintiff claimed that the  bar was liable for his injuries under the theory of res ipsa loquitur. The Washington Court of Appeals (Div. I) upheld the summary judgment dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims against the bar ng that the plaintiff failed to satisfy the elements of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.  Price v. Beacon Pub, Inc., 162 Wn. App. 1020 (2011).
  • Defended a Seattle nightclub in a wrongful death action arising out of a bar fight.  The deceased’s estate and surviving minor child sued the nightclub and its security company, alleging that the security company failed to properly intervene/secure weapon in a bar fight that resulted in the patron’s death. The trial court dismissed the vicarious liability claim against the nightclub, holding that it was not vicariously liable for the security company’s acts or omissions because it was an independent contractor, not an agent, as argued by the plaintiffs.
  • Represented a contractor that was sued for injuries arising out of a liquor liability claim.  The case was dismissed on summary judgment on the basis that an employer owed no duty to a third party who was injured by an intoxicated employee driving home from work where the evidence showed the employer did not encourage the employee to either drink or drive while intoxicated.  The dismissal was upheld by the Washington Court of Appeals in Tallariti v. Kildare, 63 Wn. App. 453, 459, 820 P.2d 952 (1991).
  • Defended a property owner who leased property to a retirement home in a premises liability matter.   Plaintiff filed a negligence claim against our client for injuries that occurred while the plaintiff was working at a retirement home.  The plaintiff fell through an open sewer/septic tank and was seriously harmed as a result.  Our client owned the property at issue and leased it to plaintiff’s employer.  Plaintiff alleged that our client was negligent in failing to provide adequate lighting in the area.  Our client was dismissed on summary judgment.  We were able to show that our client, as the lessor of the property, did not breach a duty owed to the plaintiff because it did not maintain the premises, nor did it fail to disclose a latent or hidden defect.
  • Defended a church in a premises liability matter.  Plaintiffs brought a claim against their church for injuries that occurred on the church’s property.  As the plaintiffs were parking their car before church service, a few tree branches fell on their car during an incredible wind storm.  The plaintiffs suffered injuries as a result, and brought a lawsuit against their church.  They alleged their church was negligent in failing to inspect the trees on its property.  This case was submitted to mandatory arbitration.  The arbitrator found that the church did not breach any duty owed to the plaintiffs, and zero liability was assessed against our client.