Interpreting the law can be a complex project. A recent ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals shows that interpretation of the law is often more complex than most people realize at first glance.
The case has to do with a wrongful death lawsuit filed when a man was killed at a party. The deceased man and his friend, both of whom had been consuming alcohol at the party, were acting out robbery scenarios. They were using real guns. An accident occurred and the deceased man was shot.
The widow of the deceased man filed the wrongful death civil claims. Both the host of the party and the man who shot the deceased man were named as defendants in the lawsuit. The woman claimed that the host should be held responsible for her husband's death because the man consumed the alcohol on the host's property.
The summary judgment noted that the host wasn't liable because the alcohol didn't belong to the host. The Court of Appeals ruled in the other direction. In that ruling, it was noted that the party host had control over the consumption of alcohol on the premises. This case has made a point of letting party hosts know they are liable for guests' behavior, even the party is a bring your own booze party.
The party host does have the option of appealing this ruling to the Supreme Court. His choice regarding an appeal might have a considerable impact on the future of BYOB parties in the state. Individuals who are considering hosting a party should learn about the liability laws in the state so they can determine how to keep their interests protected.
Source: The Oregonian, "Party host liable for guests even at BYOB party, Oregon appeals court rules" Kasia Hall, Jul. 10, 2014