The California State Supreme Court is soon expected to decide whether party hosts who charge for admission into their venue, can be held liable if a guest at the party gets drunk and causes an accident or injuries.
The Supreme Court is soon expected to announce a ruling in a matter involving a Cal State Fullerton student who was killed in an accident like this. In that accident, the student was a guest at a party thrown by a 20-year-old girl at a rental home owned by her parents. On the day of the party, news about the venue quickly began to spread, and many of the guests were people that the host did not even know. She began charging for admission, and guests were charged between three dollars and five dollars to cover the cost of liquor.
One of the guests at the party got so drunk that he was asked to leave. As he was exiting the venue, he ran his car over the victim who sustained fatal injuries.
His parents have filed a lawsuit, alleging that the young host of the party and her parents are liable for damages caused by his death. They are claiming damages through their homeowner's insurance coverage.
Typically, California's hosts have enjoyed protection from liability under the social host liability law, which protects them from certain drunk-driving lawsuits. Generally, a person in California can be held liable if a guest at his or her party causes an accident or injuries under the influence of alcohol. However, there is an exception for persons who sell alcohol at a party, regardless of whether they are licensed or not. At the crux of this lawsuit is whether the young host of this particular party, was selling alcohol when she charged admission tickets to attend her party.