Dram Shop & Social Host Liability in New York State and Orange County
There's been an alarming frequency and tragic consequences of drunk driving car accidents, and you probably already know that accident victims can bring lawsuits against drunk drivers to make them pay for the harm they have caused. Read on to learn when dram shop liability and social host apply.
Dram Shop Liability in New YorkA trio of New York state laws - General Obligations Laws 11-100 and 11-101, and Alcohol Beverage Control Law 65 - come together to form New York's dram shop liability law. Under these laws, it is illegal to serve or sell alcohol to a person who is either visibly intoxicated or who is known to be habitually drunk. It is also illegal to furnish alcohol to any person who is or appears to be under 21 years old. Not only are these actions illegal, but New York's dram shop liability law expressly creates a cause of action allowing a person injured by a drunk driver to bring a lawsuit against a person or establishment that violates this law. The law allows the injured party to recover actual damages (medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering) as well as exemplary damages, which are additional damages levied against a wrongdoer to serve as an example to others of the type of behavior that society will not tolerate.
Social Host Liability in Orange CountyNew York's dram shop laws have been held not to apply in the case of a social host. However, Orange County did enact such a law in 2016. Local Law No. 2 of 2016, the Orange County Social Host Law, specifically makes it illegal for a person who is 18 years old or older to knowingly allow a person under 21 to drink in their home or at a party they are hosting, wherever that may be. This law includes the situation where a person learns that a minor is present and drinking but does not take reasonable corrective action. A first offense violation of this law subjects the person to a $500 fine. A second offense is a misdemeanor which carries the penalty of a $1,000 fine, a year in jail, or both. Exceptions in the law are provided where the parent of a minor is present and has expressly permitted the alcohol consumption, or where consumption is carried out for religious purposes.