Skip to toolbar

Besides their strong economic enticement, the hosts of “Bring Your Own Booze” (BYOB) parties may have inadvertently discovered a strong legal incentive for hosting this form of party, namely to escape civil liability.  Individuals under the legal drinking age often exploit these parties, and the facts presented in Juliano v. Simpson exemplify these parties’ dangerous realties and the grave consequences of underage drinking.  Presented with an empty house void of any adult supervision, nineteen-year-old Jessica Simpson hosted a party at her father’s home, where she permitted her underage friends to consume alcohol that they had procured before arriving.  A few short hours later, an intoxicated guest crashed into a utility pole while driving home, consequently causing his passenger, Rachel Juliano, to sustain serious injuries.  Despite Simpson’s criminal behavior, the Massachusetts’s Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) declined to broaden the scope of common-law, social-host liability and affirmed that Simpson was not civilly liable for Rachel’s injuries.  By refusing to recognize a duty for social hosts who provide a location for underage drinking but not the actual alcohol, the court’s opinion ultimately exposed a troubling inconsistency in the legal system where the plaintiff is not awarded civil remedies despite the defendant’s criminal liability.

Read the full Note here.