Bohan v. Last
In Bohan v. Last, 236 Conn. 670, 674 A.2d 839 (1996), the patrons of a bar bought alcohol for a minor who was present at the bar. The alcohol purveyed by the patrons caused the minor to become intoxicated. Bohan v. Last, supra, 236 Conn. 675. The minor subsequently drove a car, while still intoxicated, resulting in a collision and the death of his passenger. Id.
The Court reaffirmed the principle of Ely v. Murphy by stating that "in appropriate circumstances, a purveyor of alcohol to a minor is liable not because he has custodial control over, or a special relationship with, the minor, but because he has negligently supplied the minor with alcohol." Id., 679.
The court held that "it is appropriate to limit the common law liability of purveyors of alcohol to those who knew or had reason to know that they were making alcohol available to a minor." Id., 680.
It further concluded that "in appropriate circumstances, adults have a duty to refrain from negligently or intentionally supplying alcohol to minors, whether such adults act as social hosts in their homes or as purveyors in a bar, because minors are presumed not to have the capacity to understand fully the risks associated with intoxication." Id., 681.
The Court permitted the defendant purveyors of alcohol to seek apportionment of the tortfeasor liability to innocent third party victims of intoxicated minors. Bohan v. Last, supra, 236 Conn. 681.
In that case, the defendant tavern impleaded adult patrons who supplied liquor to a minor in the bar in the case brought by the plaintiff against the tavern. The intoxicated minor operated his motor vehicle, causing a one-car collision that resulted in the death of the plaintiff's decedent, who was a passenger in the vehicle.
"In appropriate circumstances, a purveyor of alcohol to a minor is liable not because he has custodial control over, or a special relationship with, the minor, but because he has negligently plied the minor with alcohol." Id., 679.