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Oklahoma Supreme Court rules convenience stores can be sued for selling alcohol to intoxicated customers

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Convenience stores across Oklahoma are facing more pressure now when it comes to selling alcohol.

A state supreme court ruling, Tuesday, said a store could be sued if they sell alcohol to a person who is already intoxicated.

“I never regretted telling someone, no, they couldn't have something,” said Tammy Camfield, a cashier at the Station in Oklahoma City.

This has always been Camfield's motto, especially when it comes to selling someone alcohol when the person already looks intoxicated.

“You get some that get upset with you, but you very politely say, 'I'm sorry, I cannot sell it to you,'” she said.

Camfield said, as far as she can remember, that has always been the rules.

“I worked in convenience stores up north, I worked in Florida and here, and it's always been the basic rule that, if someone is intoxicated, you cannot sell it because you're held responsible,” Camfield said.

Now, the state supreme court is reaffirming the state statute already on the books.

This week, the state's high court ruled stores might be held liable when they sell beer to an intoxicated person if the person harms others or him/herself, like in a drunk driving accident.

“That's a good idea, to not to sell beer to people that are already intoxicated,” said Kevin Beasley.

The ruling comes from a 2012 lawsuit against George Carothers and a gas station.

The court documents said Carothers, who was already drunk, drove himself to a convenience store to buy more booze. A few hours later, he got in his car - killing one person and injuring others.

“You wouldn't want someone coming in here staggering and fully intoxicated and buy more beer and maybe go out and hurt somebody,” Beasley said.

As far as the lawsuit, the family is suing Carothers and the convenience store. After the appeals, the state supreme court ordered the trial back down to Custer County.