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SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY IN CALIFORNIA [CIVIL CODE 1714(d)]

Starting January 1, 2011, a "social host" may be liable for alcohol-related injuries and damages caused by a person under age 21 to whom the social host served alcohol per California Civil Code Section 1714(d).

California Assembly Bill (AB) Number 2486 amended Section 1714 of the California Civil Code, relating to social host liability.

AB 2486, Feuer. Social host liability: furnishing alcohol to underage persons.

Under existing law (i.e., before 1/1/11), a social host who furnishes alcoholic beverages to any person may not be held legally accountable for damages suffered by that person, or for injury to the person or property of, or death of, any 3rd  person, resulting from the consumption of those beverages.

This amendment to Civil Code Section 1714 provides that these provisions now allow a claim against: (1) a parent, guardian, or another adult (2) who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages at his or her residence to a person under 21 years of age and (3) that furnishing the alcoholic beverages may be found to be the proximate cause of resulting personal injuries, death, or property damage to the person who was served the alcohol or to other persons.

Section 1714 of the Civil Code was amended by adding section "(d)" as follows, and reads, in pertient part:

"1714. (a) Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her  willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want  of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person,  except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought  the injury upon himself or herself... 

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to abrogate the holdings in cases  such as Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153, Bernhard v. Harrah’s Club (1976) 16 Cal.3d 313, and Coulter v. Superior Court (1978) 21 Cal.3d 144  and to reinstate the prior judicial interpretation of this section as it relates to proximate cause for injuries incurred as a result of furnishing alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person, namely that the furnishing of alcoholic beverages is not the proximate cause of injuries resulting from intoxication, but rather the consumption of alcoholic beverages is the proximate cause of injuries inflicted upon another by an intoxicated person.

(c) Except as provided in subdivision (d), no social host who furnishes  alcoholic beverages to any person may be held legally accountable for  damages suffered by that person, or for injury to the person or property of,  or death of, any third person, resulting from the consumption of those  beverages.

(d) Nothing in subdivision (c) shall preclude a claim against a parent,  guardian, or another adult who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages at  his or her residence to a person under 21 years of age, in which case,  notwithstanding subdivision (b), the furnishing of the alcoholic beverage may be found to be the proximate cause of resulting injuries or death."


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