- CALIFORNIA ESTABLISHES SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY
- NEW SMALL BUSINESS AND NONPROFIT HEALTH CARE TAX CREDIT
- COLORADO COURT ISSUES IMPORTANT DISCOVERY DECISION
- PHI DELTA THETA, OTHERS SUED
- ANOTHER HAZING AND DRINKING DEATH LEADS TO LAWSUIT
- UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS RULES IN FAVOR OF LAMBDA CHI ALPHA, HOUSE CORPORATION AND ADVISOR
Newsletter > November 2010 > "CALIFORNIA ESTABLISHES SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY"
CALIFORNIA ESTABLISHES SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY
Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke
California recently enacted two bills regarding social host liability. Assembly Bill 2486 established social host liability to adults who consciously provide alcohol to minors who are subsequently injured or killed as a result of their drinking. The bill narrowly defines “social hosts” to someone who is 21 years of age or older and who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person under 21 years of age. Further, the definition is limited to “natural persons” who provide alcohol to guests at his or her residence with no motive for pecuniary gain regardless of whether any payment is given for the alcohol. Licensed or commercial vendors are not social hosts under the bill. This bill simply brings California in line with the vast majority of the other states. Before this bill, California was among only a handful of states that provided for no social host liability.
A companion bill, Assembly Bill 1999, known as “Shelby’s Law,” grants immunity from prosecution to underage drinkers seeking medical help for themselves or their peers. Underage drinking is ordinarily a misdemeanor in California. “Shelby’s Law” was enacted following the death of 17-year-old Shelby Lyn Allen. She died shortly before Christmas in 2008. She was playing a drinking game at a friend’s house, drank approximately 15 shots of vodka, and died in the friend’s bathroom. The goal of the law is to encourage underage drinkers to seek medical help when necessary without the fear that they may be arrested. The General Assembly hopes that “Shelby’s Law” will save lives and that underage drinkers, or their friends, err on the side of caution and seek medical assistance, rather than simply hoping for the best and avoiding medical help because of a fear of criminal charges.