The family of Debra Davis, a 20 year-old wrongful death victim, has brought suit against the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, under the Massachusetts liquor service liability law.
In 2008, Davis attended a tail-gaiting party at the Patriots’ Foxborough Stadium, along with a group of other underage individuals. The party was held at the time of the Country Music Stadium, which took place inside the stadium. The teenagers engaged in massive consumption of alcohol.
In order to avoid being arrested for underage drinking, Davis and her friends made the decision to drive away from the stadium. Davis got into the car of her friend, 19 year-old Alexa Latteo, with another young woman as well. A short time after leaving the stadium, the car crashed into a tree, killing Davis and Latteo, and severely injuring the third woman.
The plaintiff is seeking to hold Kraft liable for her personal injury damages as a social host, even though Kraft neither supplied the alcohol nor invited the teenagers to consume alcohol at the stadium. The plaintiff put forth evidence, however, that Kraft was aware of the problem of underage drinking at tailgating parties because the local police chief had repeatedly warned Kraft of the significant amount of underage drinking at the tailgating parties.
The defendant is arguing that a recent decision from the Supreme Judicial Court precludes a judicial finding that Kraft is responsible. Specifically, in Jiuliano v. Simpson, the SJC found a husband and wife not responsible as social hosts for the wrongful death of a drunk driver, because they were not home at the time of the party, did not supply the alcohol, and did not even know that the party was going on or that alcohol was being consumed.
It remains to be seen whether the courts will apply the same reasoning to commercial actors, such as Kraft.
Irresponsible and negligent social hosts can be as responsible for underage drinking and driving as the drunk drivers themselves. If you or a loved one has sustained personal injuries, or if a loved one suffered a wrongful death, because of the actions of a negligent Massachusetts drunk driver, please call our Boston, MA drunk driver injury attorneys, Boston personal injury lawyers or Boston, Massachusetts wrongful death accident attorneys 24/7 at 617-787-3700.
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