Austin v. Kaness – Case Brief Summary (Wyoming)

In Austin v. Kaness, 950 P.2d 561 (Wyo. 1997), the Court considered the specific question of the liability of homeowner parents to a third party injured by an intoxicated social guest who had obtained alcohol in the parents' home, not from them, but from their adult son.

Because the son was not a minor, and because he did not reside in his parents' home, the question of the parents' liability was presented under theories of agency and respondeat superior. Id. at 563-64.

The Court found that the parents were not liable for their son's conduct because, even if he were considered an employee or agent, the act of throwing a "beer party" was clearly outside the scope of his duties. Id. at 564.