Alcohol at a club meeting
September 25, 2012 9:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm on the board of a club in California. Some on the board want to allow alcohol at our events. I'm scared we would be liable if someone gets hurt on the way home after drinking too much. You are not our lawyer but what do you think our liability is? We meet at a business but after hours.
posted by pibeandres to Law & Government (8 answers total)
I'd be worried if I was that business that is the meeting place.
posted by Salvatorparadise at 9:39 PM on September 25, 2012

California has a pretty lenient dram shop law. You can only be held liable if you serve booze to a minor. So don't do that.

posted by Garm at 9:46 PM on September 25, 2012

The business owner seems to think they'd be covered by their own insurance. I don't know if we are though.
posted by pibeandres at 9:49 PM on September 25, 2012

The business is already liable in the usual way when you all meet sober. A prudent plan is to buy a policy for the club and then you'll not have to worry, even though a drunk crashing their car wouldn't have a case against the club or the business. Even my 4H group of my childhood had an insurance policy; it's inexpensive and prudent to obtain.
posted by michaelh at 10:32 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is typically pretty easy and cheap to get a rider for dram shop insurance. Also, are you allowing, or serving? That can make a difference.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:43 AM on September 26, 2012

Every state is different on the question of social host liability. In my state, only the person or corporation that sells the drinks is liable. An organization meeting there would want to include as part of the contract an obligation to provide dram shop coverage, perhaps with a provision for a minimum amount of coverage above and beyond state minimums.

But you need to consult with a lawyer in California to get qualified advice, vs. the generalizations you can get here.
posted by yclipse at 4:35 AM on September 26, 2012

Check with your insurance agent (or a lawyer). Where I am, you'd only be in trouble if you sold alcohol. Providing it free at a social event would be ok.
posted by Xhris at 5:04 AM on September 26, 2012

Thanks for all the good advice.

Garm: Thanks for the link!

michaelh: The president is looking into buying insurance, the VP (and owner of the shop) thinks we are covered under her insurance but we aren't taking that for granted.

Kid Charlemagne: Allowing, not providing or serving.

yclipse / Xhris: We are consulting a lawyer as well.
posted by pibeandres at 8:25 AM on September 26, 2012

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