If a bartender gave my credit card and driver’s license to someone else, is that legal?

My friend and I went to a bar and after 2 hours we left without getting my drivers license and credit card back. My friend went back an hour later and drank some more and then the bartender gave him my receipt to sign and then gave him my driver’s license and credit card.

Asked on July 31, 2010 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF you suffered some loss as a result of these actions--e.g. your friend charged  something else on your card; your friend stole you identify; etc.--then you might have a cause of action. If it was negligent (careless), you might be able to sue for your losses; if it was deliberate (e.g. collusion between bartender and friend), there might be criminal liability as well.

However, if you did not suffer any loss or harm, there will be no liability. While it was improper and potentially dangerous, if the bartender knew or had reason to know that this was your friend and had been drinking with you, then there's nothing against the law in giving you the items to take back to you. As stated, if loss resulted, the bartender would then have to potentially suffer the consequences of his actions.


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