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2013-12-31 at NOON

Hosting headaches

By Matt Vis,
Be Bob's Friend: Join our FacebookEverything is COZIER, WARMER, SEXIER, with a fireplace. Stylish Luxury meets functional heating at Bob's Intelligent Heating DecorClick Here

New Year’s Eve is one of the most festive occasions of the year, but for people who make their home a party destination there’s always a risk that a New Year will come with new problems.

While social hosts aren’t bound by the same laws that commercial hosts, such as bars and taverns, face when it comes to impaired guests, there is still potential liability for homeowners holding house parties as a result of actions by impaired guests.

Local law association president Chris Hacio says there’s a precedent where social hosts have faced litigation.

“If a homeowner allows someone to over consume alcohol in their home at what point is it foreseeable that gets drunk may harm themselves or a third party,” Hacio says.

“The most common circumstance is someone coming to your home and then gets impaired and drives drunk, injuring a third party in a motor vehicle accident. There are many cases where the injured party from the motor vehicle accident not only sues the intoxicated party that caused the accident but the owner of the home where they got impaired.”

Hacio explains that the legal process would come down to determining whether a duty of care exists.

The plaintiff would have to establish that the host owed not only the impaired person but any potential third parties responsibility and protection.

That duty of care would likely hinge upon whether a host could reasonably expect that the intoxicated person is a threat to bring harm to themselves or others.

Thus far, that has been difficult to prove in social host liability cases. Successful cases are fairly rare but the country’s top court has not legally ruled it out.

“The laws generally in Canada are that those people are not held liable, but the Supreme Court of Canada left the door open for people to sue in those circumstances,” Hacio says, adding it is a developing area of law.

Nevertheless, responsible social hosting is an issue that is gaining traction.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario launched a media blitz over the holidays focused on creating a negative stigma around drinking and driving.

The Deflate the Elephant campaign encourages social hosts and partygoers to engage potential impaired drivers in alternatives to getting behind the wheel, and
A website has been set up in concert with the television commercials and it provides tips for social hosts. Among the suggestions is to provide food and overnight sleeping arrangements for drinking guests as well as promoting designated driving and having money available for taxis.

Hacio added that hosts can help protect themselves by recommending that hosts serve the alcohol themselves to monitor each guest’s intake along with observing and mingling with each person in attendance to gauge their level of impairment.

He says if all else fails the host should immediately contact police if a guest is intent on driving while impaired.

Those thinking they can elude detection and get away with impaired driving might be in for a harsh awakening on the roads.

According to Thunder Bay Police Service traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter, the last day on the calendar is one of the busiest for police and requires as many hands on deck as possible.

“For police New Year’s is the big event. It’s something that we plan for and anticipate every year,” Porter says.

“There will be a lot of people going out to celebrate and we know that unfortunately people do drink and drive… We’re out there, we’ll be watching for them and we’re prepared.”

While pubs and bars are typically busy on new Year’s Eve, police are aware of the popularity of the New Year’s Eve house party. Sgt. Porter believes there’s a chance that more house parties might not necessarily mean more problems.

“Trends are changing a bit,” Porter says . “We know that people are moving toward having those parties in their homes and taking responsibility and ensuring the guests they have are being taken care of.”

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We've improved our comment system.
fairlane says:
Why is it that we as adults can't be responsible for our own actions? Why is there always someone else to blame?

You don't charge gun shops with murder becuase they sold a gun to a shooter, so why are pubs and party hosts responsible?

We wonder why people are as messed up as they are. There's always a way out...."It's not my fault" is an excuse for almost everything. This needs to change.

Happy New Year everyone,
12/31/2013 1:00:06 PM
pc says:
It is called the Nanny State and the gimme generation.
I would like to start with the old saying. "gimme gimme, never gets".
But they are so loud and obnoxious they usually do.
12/31/2013 4:24:47 PM
smartguy83 says:
I believe people refer to the "gimme generation" (don't even get me started on how wrong this term is) as younger people under the age of 30-35. However, this is not just an issue among this generation. I have no stats, neither do you, but people in this age range are not the only ones suing over ANYTHING. Other generations are just as guilty. I am not sure how many times I have heard of parents suing for stupid things that happened to their children.
1/1/2014 6:47:22 PM
thatguy says:
Although I agree with you in the sense that I truly wish more "adults" would act as such. Although Being intoxicated means that one cannot be alert and in a fully capable state. This means that they cannot possible act in a properly normal way. We need ways to look out for one another otherwise everyone one would be drunk in the streets or alcohol would need to be a completely banned substance.
12/31/2013 4:32:24 PM
nat_geo says:
Adults responsible for their own actions? You mean like when adults have kids and actually work to support them instead of being a deadbeat or relying on welfare? Ya, doubt that will ever happen.
12/31/2013 5:42:33 PM
gremlin says:

You ask a fair question. The answer is quite simple really. This is the result of living in a country that DOESN'T BELIEVE IN PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Just one of the many consequences of SOCIALIST IDEOLOGY. I'll say it for the last time this year, SOCIALISM COMES AT A HIGH PRICE.
12/31/2013 1:40:38 PM
Girardin says:
Says the guy proud to be suing the city because of neglect to protect his own property.
When you use caps lock it is considered yelling in internet etiquette and manners. If you feel you aren't being heard it might be because you're misusing the term socialism in your repeated posts. Get out there and do something if you're so unhappy with "society".
1/1/2014 2:26:01 PM
Thor Odinson says:
Still better than FASCISM like you FASCISTS would like to institute.

See? I can use buzzwords too.
1/3/2014 2:39:39 AM
rootbear says:
Gone are the days...I have never heard of or ever thought of suing our fellow partygoers over something like this. We always took the keys away to save their butt, not ours. Hope people don't get the wrong idea...
12/31/2013 1:53:33 PM
mutechirp says:
While most of us are probably responsible enough not to drink and drive, some will inevitably make that choice.

Yes, people should line up a DD but many people assume they can get a cab at some point in the night (I called every taxi company in the city a few weeks ago and not one of them answered my numerous calls. Luckily I found another ride.) It would be nice to have another option and keep some people who would otherwise "have a few" and drive from doing so.

Ottawa and Toronto are providing free public transit, and I'm sure many other cities are as well. Maybe that's something we could look into in the future.
12/31/2013 4:13:32 PM
thatguy says:
This a great article, it bring to light that more and more are choosing to go to private dwellings to celebrate. Home owners should be aware of consequences, and do their due diligence to prevent any unfortunate events from happening. Also that guy in the pic can pour another for me. Looks like he is a pro.
12/31/2013 4:23:17 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Booze is defective.
12/31/2013 4:44:44 PM
Tbaybmkr says:
Right on, let the impaired host gauge the impairment of the guest...
I'm with you Fairlane!
12/31/2013 4:45:41 PM
anvil of crom says:
well this applies everyday year round, in the city at the cottage camp, business as usual.
12/31/2013 5:06:09 PM
Arch Stanton says:
I think we should take things a step further....

The Duty of Care extends right to the top of the Thunder Bay hierarchy...

So I shall be calling that nice Mr. Hobbs to come and drive me home tonight when I have had far to much 'to operate heavy machinery'!

12/31/2013 7:37:31 PM
Crabmeatrules says:
how do they know that the person caught driving while impaired drank after leaving said party?
12/31/2013 8:06:09 PM
westfort resident says:
"Both the trial judge and the Court of Appeal concluded, for different reasons, that social hosts of parties do not owe a duty of care to members of the public who may be injured by an intoxicated guest’s conduct."

"The person sought to be held liable must be implicated in the creation of the risk. . . . The social hosts had no statutory duty to monitor the consumption of alcohol or to control the structure of the atmosphere in which alcohol was served. There is no evidence that anyone relied on them to do so. . . . I cannot accept the proposition that by merely supplying the venue of a BYOB party, a host assumes legal responsibility to third party users of the road for monitoring the alcohol consumed by guests, . . . It would not be just and fair in the circumstances to impose a duty of care."

12/31/2013 9:08:12 PM
gremlin says:

Not sure who you think I am but I don't know anything about a lawsuit.
1/1/2014 5:51:55 PM
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