Drinking Alcohol at a Fraternity Party Before a Car Accident
In Estate of Hernandez by Hernandez-Wheeler for & on Behalf of Hernandez v. Arizona Board of Regents, 177 Ariz. 244, 866 P.2d 1330 (1994), an underage college student drank alcohol at a fraternity party before crashing his car into a vehicle driven by Hernandez. Id. at 247, 866 P.2d at 1333.
Hernandez suffered severe physical injuries, and brought an action against several parties, including the students, the fraternity, and the Arizona Board of Regents, which owned the property where the party occurred and leased it to the fraternity. Id.
Hernandez alleged that the Board of Regents was "negligent in continuing to lease the premises to the house corporation when it knew that the fraternity served alcoholic beverages to persons under the legal drinking age," and was "liable both under the doctrine of respondeat superior and for its negligent supervision of the driver." Estate of Hernandez by Hernandez-Wheeler on Behalf of Hernandez v. Arizona Bd. of Regents, 172 Ariz. 522, 526, 838 P.2d 1283, 1287 (App. 1991), vacated, Hernandez, 177 Ariz. at 256, 866 P.2d at 1342.
The superior court held that the Board of Regents, as a social host, was statutorily immune from liability for serving alcohol to a minor who became intoxicated and injured a third party. Hernandez, 177 Ariz. at 247, 866 P.2d at 1333.
The Court affirmed, but our supreme court reversed, concluding that statutory immunity does not apply to non-licensees who furnish alcohol to underage persons:
We hold only that the so-called traditional rule--if ever there was one--of non-liability when a non-licensee serves alcohol to minors does not exist in Arizona. We do not, in this opinion, lay down any rule of absolute liability for serving alcohol to minors. . . . Arizona courts, therefore, will entertain an action for damages against a non-licensee who negligently furnishes alcohol to those under the legal drinking age when that act is a cause of injury to a third person. Id. at 256, 866 P.2d at 1342.