Local Connection: Party Hosts Now Liable For Minors Dying of Alcohol Poisoning

By: Rick Blangiardi

The Hawaii Supreme Court issued a surprising ruling recently in announcing that a party host can be held liable for serving alcoholic drinks to a minor who dies from alcohol poisoning.

Up until now, a host of a social gathering could not be held liable for anyone who got drunk at the party.

The ruling comes in the case of a lawsuit by the family of a 15-year-old girl who died after attending a party in Hawaii Kai.

The lawsuit alleged that the host, then 25, served a large amount of liquor to the girl and did not come to her aid when she became ill and passed out. Her blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit.

A Circuit Court judge tossed the case out but it was reinstated by a higher court. The host was ultimately sentenced to a year in jail.

The facts of the case are limited to the particulars of a minor being plied with alcohol from someone who allegedly did nothing to help.

But it's a good reminder that hosts must watch what happens under their watch and must take action if things go horribly wrong.