Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Don’t party too hardy

It’s back to school, which means there is a whole new crop of high school seniors! Senior year is an exciting time, with loads of parties throughout the year. And parents want to make this time of celebration as memorable and fun as they can.

One disturbing trend, though, is for parents to provide alcohol for these kids’ parties. Parents downplay this practice by supposedly requiring everyone to spend the night, or taking away keys at the door. But we all know that adolescents are very resourceful. If they want to leave the party, they’re going to leave. Parents need to understand the liability they are exposing themselves and their family to if they decide to “sponsor” any alcohol for a party attended by minors.

The Texas Dram Shop Act (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Chapter 2) holds private citizen social hosts responsible if they serve alcohol to a minor under the age of 18 who goes on to get in an accident. The victim of any accident can sue the hosting adult for damages, which if there is a death involved, will be quite significant.

Damages do not have to be caused by drunk driving. Just being “out of control” and causing property damage, or accidentally falling over on the wrong person, can cause extensive damages for which our “fun” parent will be held liable.

Additionally, hosts don’t actually have to serve or provide the alcohol to be liable. Just knowing the alcohol is available and allowing the minor to partake on the premises can cause liability to the hosts if a minor gets drunk.

The bottom line: don’t provide alcohol to minors. Aside from being a criminal offense, you could be exposing your family to extraordinary levels of liability. And that’s a buzz-kill.

Kendra Rey is an attorney at Hammerle Finley Law Firm, a boutique law firm offering services in estate planning, probate, guardianship, business law, litigation, and real estate. Contact her at (972) 436-9300. This article does not constitute as legal advice.

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CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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