19 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1013 (1983)
Liability of Commercial Vendors, Employers, and Social Hosts for Torts of the Intoxicated

handle is hein.journals/wflr19 and id is 999 raw text is: COMMENTS
LIABILITY OF COMMERCIAL VENDORS,
EMPLOYERS, AND SOCIAL HOSTS FOR TORTS OF
THE INTOXICATED
INTRODUCTION
As the nationwide percentage of traffic fatalities resulting from
drunk driving* continues to increase,1 a ground swell of indignation has
prompted courts and legislatures to re-examine their statutes and case
law. Many jurisdictions now impose civil liability for the torts of the in-
toxicated on parties who supplied alcohol to the original tortfeasor. More
states have begun to enact statutes, commonly called dram shop acts or
civil damage acts, that impose liability on commercial vendors who sup-
ply alcoholic beverages to minors and to obviously intoxicated persons
who later injure third parties.2
While legislatures were the first to act, the courts are frequently con-
fronted with situations in which it would seem appropriate to impose tort
liability on a commercial vendor, employer, or social host for injuries to
innocent third parties caused by an intoxicated driver.3 The traditional
common law view has been that the commercial alcohol vendor, employer,
or social host is not responsible for the torts of his intoxicated customers
or guests.4 Courts have begun to reexamine this traditional view, however,
due to the increasing carnage that has resulted from our motorized soci-
ety in which automobiles too often become lethal weapons in the hands of
drunk drivers. In order to deter drunk driving and to compensate inno-
cent victims, some courts have imposed liability under two theories of
negligence: (1) negligence per se for violations of alcohol beverage control
statutes;5 and (2) common law negligence.6
1. HOUSE COMM. ON PUBLIC WORKS, ALCOHOL AND HIGHWAY SAFETY REPORT 1, 90th
Cong., 2d Sess. (1968).
2. Over 20 states have civil damage acts in effect. Some of these states, such as Oregon
have very restrictive acts, that limit liability to the wife, husband, parent, or child of the
intoxicated persons OR. REv. STAT. § 30.730 (1977). Some states restrict potential defen-
dants to those who profit from the sale of liquor. In Williams v. Klemesrud, 197 N.W.2d 614
(Iowa 1972), the Iowa Supreme Court imposed liability on social hosts, but a new civil dam-
age act, IOWA CODE ANN. § 123.92 (West Supp. 1983-84), was soon passed to restrict causes
of action to those against licensees or permittees.
3. Note, Liquor Vendor Liability for Injuries Caused By Intoxicated Patrons-A
Question of Policy, 35 OHIO ST. L.J. 630 (1974).
4. See, e.g., State ex rel. Joyce v. Hatfield, 197 Md. 249, 78 A.2d 754 (1951).
5. For a discussion of liability under the theory of negligence per se, see infra notes

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