How Throwing a Party Could Get You Sued

As I’m sure you already know, St. Patrick’s Day was this past weekend.

What you may not know, is that this past September, the Court of Appeal ruled for arguably a broader liability as a party host.

This decision resulted in a new test for the liability of a social host. It is a two-part test comprised of foreseeability and proximity.

Here’s an example of a probable scenario that applies to the new test in liability:

Judy hosts a party, and at her party, Judy serves alcohol to her guests. One of her guests, Frank, consumes this alcohol and later drives his motorcycle home. Frank gets into an accident on his ride home and injures himself and another patron who was driving.

In this situation who is liable for the injuries that Frank and the other patron sustained? The natural answer is “it depends” because we know that Judy served alcohol and most likely saw his level of intoxication. When this case gets to court, the judge will apply the facts in the case to the new test in liability to see who is at fault for the accident.

The two mains questions that the test asks are were the events foreseeable and was there proximity?

Foreseeability — What did Judy know/when?
Q: Was Judy aware the Frank had consumed 15 beers within a 2 hour period? And/or did she know of his intention to participate in a dangerous activity that could cause danger to himself or others?

Proximity — Is there “something more” that should necessitate Judy to act?
Q: Was Judy aware that Frank had also been consuming recreational marijuana the entire time he was at the party and was unable to walk straight at the time he was leaving the party.

If the answers to the above questions are “yes” then I am quite conformable suggesting to you that if Frank was injured, or if he injured someone, a court would have little difficulty finding Judy responsible (to some degree) as a social host.

The above example is no doubt quite extreme. But the bottom line is, your responsibility does not cease to exist when your guests leave your home.

Contact Millars Lawyers today for a FREE consultation. Trust Millars Lawyers when you Can’t Afford to Lose.

(519) 657-1LAW or

By: Melissa Scott

Read our most recent post

Is your Non-Resident Client or Counterparty on the Hook for Withholding Taxes?

When is GST Payable on the Sale of Residential Property?

Con Artists and their Strategies: You are More VulnerableThan You Think

L.Gen Whelan Statement of Claim

Here is the Certified Copy of the Statement of Claim filed with the Court on May 21 2024 in the above named file. As per R. 133 the Registry has served a copy of the Notice of Application on the Attorney General of Canada on your behalf.