Legal Question in DUI Law in Maryland

Grand Pop liable for Grandkids party at his house?

Grandparents have some wealth and own a beach-front home. Grandkids hold party at the beach home where there is drinking. All drinkers (and grandkids) are of legal drinking age. Most beer/liquor is brought by guests, but some is supplied by grandkid hosts. Do grandparents have any potential liability if someone attending party at their house drinks too much, leaves party and hurts either themself or others while driving home? That is, are they liable because beer/liquor provided by grandkids (legal age) was available/consumed at/on their property? Would it make any difference if the grandparents were not aware that the party was being held?

Asked on 8/21/01, 8:00 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Thomas McCarthy, Sr. Thomas McCarthy, Sr., Esq., P.C.

Re: Grand Pop liable for Grandkids party at his house?

Anybody can sue anybody.

But, given the facts you've presented, the grandparents are probably not liable.


Tom McCarthy, Sr.

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Answered on 8/21/01, 1:10 pm

G. Joseph Holthaus III Law Offices of G. Joseph Holthaus

Re: Grand Pop liable for Grandkids party at his house?

Although I have not searched to confirm the exact holding of the case, I

recall a Maryland Court of Appeals case that held that the dipositive issue

was one of knowledge. Where there was no knowledge on the part of the property

owner of the event(s), then no vicarious liability (i.e., liability that arises because

of the act of another which is imputed to one who had a basis to control or avert the injury).

However, "having knowledge" is a touchy issue in the law. I don't recall whether the case

addressed a "reasonable person" standard or actual knowledge. I'd postulate that actual knowledge must

be proven.

In any event, we live in a society where lawsuits abound and it is best to take prudent action to

twart the presence of liability. I'd suggest you consider some way to minimize your exposure to risk and this is

where you need to talk to an attorney.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing, absolutely nothing, in this communication is legal advice; nor should it be considered so. The issues

presented in the question relate to numerous areas of potentially devasting legal liability and it is crucially important that you

seek immediate legal advice in the event that a situation has occurred or in the event that you plan to continue having the subject parties.


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Answered on 8/27/01, 3:07 pm

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