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Liability for underage drinking at party in Massachusetts

My friend and I are having a party at his house when his parents go away in few days. We're not buying or serving any alcohol and we're only inviting less than 10 people that we know. It's posible that a few other people will come too if they come with a friend. If someone does drink at the party and then gets in an accident and injures themselves or someone else could my friend, the host of the party, get sued? Thanks.

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I'll spare you the speech about how horrible an idea it is to host a party when the parents are not home and get right to the point.  There was a recent opinion issued by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (Juliano vs. Simpson, SJC-10843 (2012)) in which the court unanimously held that teenagers (non-adults) who host parties where some of the guests are drinking cannot be held civilly liable (sued for money damages), unless they served the alcohol.  The result might be different under Massachusetts case law if the party were hosted by adults.  Adults can be found liable in such situations, even if they did not serve the alcohol, if they had "effective control over the supply of alcohol.”

Similarly, under the Massachusetts Social Host Liability Law, the adult owner of a home who allows minors (not related to the adult) to drink alcohol can face criminal charges with fines up $2000 and a year in jail.  Liability can attach under the social host law even if the homeowner did not provide the alcohol to the minors. Hope that helps.

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