Deckard v. Bunch

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 11-19-2014
  • Case #: A151792
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, J. for the Court; Hadlock, P.J.; & Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 471.565, a statutory liability is created for social hosts who serve visibly intoxicated persons.

Defendant Bunch was served several drinks at Defendant King's house and thereafter, with a blood alcohol level of .22, collided into Deckard’s vehicle causing serious injury. The trial court dismissed the case, holding that ORS 471.565 does not create a statutory cause of action, and, therefore, Deckard’s complaint based on that statute alone failed to state a claim. The major issue on appeal was whether or not ORS 471.565 created statutory liability or if it imposed limits on the common law liability that was already created against taverns and hosts. The Court held that, in light of the legislative history as well as the case law that gave rise to the statute’s passage, the trial court erred in its interpretation. Under ORS 471.565, a statutory liability is created for social hosts who serve visibly intoxicated persons. The Court also touched on the fact that this is limited to motor vehicle accidents, and not, for example, subsequent intentional torts such as assault and battery. Reversed and remanded.

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