Parties in Condos – Who is Liable When Alcohol Involved

Alcohol at a Party

Many times owners don’t realize the problems they could have by hosting a party in the party room and serving acolhol.  In 2006, the Supreme court of Canada had to deal with one case which caused a very serious situation   (as reported by cbc.ca) and the implications to the condominium were dramatic.

It all started when a couple decided to host a New Year’s Eve party at their house.  The hosts didnt realized that one of the guest was impaired.  When he left which was shortly after midnight he was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle.  The other vehicle carried 4 passengers, where 1 was killed and the other 3 seriously injured of which was was left paralized form the waist down.  The impaired driver was convicted of various serious criminal offences and sentenced to ten years.  The victim who was left paralized sued the impaired driver and the two hosts of the party.  The Supreme court denied this claim against the “social host” .

What if it was in a Condominium?  On a daily basis there are social gatherings whether it is parties the Condominium Board hosts for holiday season, halloween and/or Easter.  The summer barbecue or rooftop terrace party or the gatherine of neighbours in the board room.  What are the possible implications for the Board and residents in the event that alcohol is consumed.

The Superior Court’s decision as a general rule for social hosts will not be held responsible for actions once their guests leave the party recognizing that guests must be responsible for their actions and decsion.   It was decided that social hosts are do not have to monitor their guests drinking but since the Courts view bars, retaurants and tavers etc. as an operation of a  business have an incentive to encourage their customers to drink now have a duty to ensure they monitor their patrons consumption and are held liable for injuries suffered by members of the public should the impared customer cause an accident.  This ruling is in Canada however there are some states in the United states that impose liabilities to social hosts as well as commercial outlets.