- SUIT FOR FREEDOM AT HAMILTON COLLEGE
- UNRELATED BUSINESS INCOME ISSUES FOR FRATERNAL ORGANIZATIONS
- INTOXICATION IS NO EXCUSE
- NOTIFY THE INSURANCE COMPANY
- NATIONAL NOT LIABLE FOR HAZING IN ALABAMA
Newsletter > March 1998 > "INTOXICATION IS NO EXCUSE"
INTOXICATION IS NO EXCUSE
Robert E. Manley, Manley & Burke
A male college student who climbed on the roof of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority House at Ohio State University was not relieved by his state of intoxication from the “reasonable person standard” in determining that the roofs edge located 40 feet above the ground was an obvious danger.
Joseph L. Prest and his date were at a “Derby Days” party at the Sigma Chi Fraternity House at Ohio State. They become intoxicated. At about 1:00 a.m., they went to the Tri Delta house and climbed on the roof. Both Prest and his date were intoxicated. They fell asleep on the roof. At some point, the date awakened and went into the house to sleep on the couch. At approximately 4:00 a.m., Prest rolled off the roof and died from the impact of a 40-foot fall.
The Court of Appeals for Franklin County, Ohio, applied the principle of law “that an open and obvious danger itself serves as a warning and that ‘the owner or occupier may reasonably expect that persons entering the premises will discover those dangers and take appropriate measures to protect themselves”‘ Prest v. Delta Delta Delta Sorority, 115 Ohio App. 3d 712 (1996). The fact that Prest voluntarily became intoxicated before entering the danger zone did not create a jury question. He was held to the same standard as a sober person.
Since there was no liability because of Prest’s own behavior, the court did not reach the question as to whether or not there might be exposure of Delta Delta Delta National Sorority, Sigma Chi Foundation, Alpha Gamma of Sigma Chi, and Sigma Chi National Fraternity.
Under this case, intoxication is no defense from the duty of a person to behave as a reasonably prudent person when confronted with an obviously dangerous situation.