The holidays are coming up fast. For many, that can mean excessive amounts of food, family, friends, and yes, alcohol. With that in mind, now might be a good time to discuss potential liability when hosting an event.
We’ve already discussed party hosts and underage drinking, but one of the most critical aspects of California Social Hospitality Law is that a host who knowingly serves alcoholic beverages to a minor may be held responsible and face serious consequences.
California Civil Code §1714(d) states:
(1) Nothing in subsection (c) precludes a claim against a parent, guardian or other adult who knowingly supplies alcoholic beverages at his residence to a person whom he knows or ought to have known had under 21 years old. years, in which case, notwithstanding subsection (b), the supply of the liquor may be considered the immediate cause of the resulting injury or death.
(2) A claim under this subsection may be brought by or on behalf of the person under 21 or by a person who has been harmed by the person under 21.
For example, if a minor is intoxicated and causes a serious car accident, this could mean additional liability for the adult who served alcohol to the minor.
According to a 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 21.4% of underage youth in California reported drinking alcohol and 33.3% got the alcohol. that they drank from a third party. More than 17% said they had used marijuana that year – another controlled substance requiring recreational buyers to be over 21.
Add to these numbers the fact that more than 45% of underage Californians reported feeling “sad or hopeless” every day for two weeks or more. This dangerous mix of emotion and underage drinking can lead to very risky behavior.
According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), underage drinkers are more likely to develop alcohol use disorder, become heavy drinkers, or be involved in car accidents. and other serious alcohol-related accidents.
By respecting the California Social Hospitality Law, family and friends over the age of 21 can minimize the risk of legal liability when planning vacations and other events. This is not only a legal responsibility, but also a social and ethical responsibility.
California takes underage drinking and the supply or sale of alcoholic beverages seriously. Serving a minor, or serving “habitual or common drunks,” and violating Business and Professions Code §25602, can result in serious consequences.
It is up to everyone to celebrate with family and friends in a safe and responsible way while ensuring minors can stay safe.