Over the last month we discussed two different Illinois personal injury cases addressing the liability of parties who provided alcohol to someone who then left the premises and caused a deadly automobile accident. This is an issue that is becoming more frequently litigated, in part because of the tragic consequences–which are especially apparent when the person who was served alcohol is underage.
In response to this issue, California governor Arnold Shwarzenegger recently signed into law legislation that would allow civil lawsuits against adult who permitted alcohol to be served to underage minors who then were injured or killed as a result of being intoxicated.
As explained in this SFGate article, the intent of the law is to protect underage youths:
“Governor Schwarzenegger was pleased to sign AB2486 because parents and adults have a responsibility to protect children and underage youth from alcohol,” said the governor’s deputy press secretary Matt Connelly in a written statement. “Adults that knowingly provide alcohol to a minor place both the minor and the larger community at risk. AB2486 enhances the seriousness of that offense and broadens the penalties against any parent or adult that knowingly provides alcohol to a minor.”
By expressly allowing lawsuits against adults who knowingly serve alcohol to underage youths, the state of California has sent a strong message that will undoubtedly discourage this practice and help to prevent the tragic results that can occur when inexperienced youths make poor decisions after drinking alcohol.