‘Tis the Season: Holiday Parties and Social Host Liability

With the holiday season in full swing, many of us will attend or even host a holiday party.  Occasionally, a guest may become intoxicated at the party, and may cause a motor vehicle collision which injures an innocent motorist or passenger.  Can the party host be held legally responsible for the driver or passenger’s injuries?

Fortunately, Arizona law protects the party host, and offers social host immunity (A.R.S. § 4-301). Provided that the host does not serve alcohol to one who is under the age of twenty-one, then the host is immune from liability for any harm caused by an intoxicated guest.  Of course, for the immunity to apply the social host may not be a liquor licensee (for example, a bar or restaurant that has a state-issued license to sell alcohol), but must truly be “hosting” the event, not charging for alcoholic beverages, and serving only those of legal drinking age.  Despite the immunity provided by law, responsible party hosts should consider making a ride share program available for their guests (for example, Uber and Lyft).

Be safe this holiday season, folks.  And Happy Holidays from DeFusco Law!

 

 

 

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