Deckard v. Bunch

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 03-10-2016
  • Case #: S062948
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Landau, J.; Baldwin, J.; & Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

ORS 471.565(2) does not create a cause of action for statutory tort liability against third-party social hosts that is independent from common-law tort liability.

Plaintiff was injured by Defendant Bunch (“Bunch”) in a motor vehicle accident. Bunch had attended a social event hosted by Defendant King (“King”), and was intoxicated at the time of the accident. At the time of the suit, King had died. Plaintiff sought relief from King’s estate, arguing under common-law that King had negligently served alcohol to a visibly-intoxicated Bunch, when it was foreseeable that Bunch would drive; and further making a statutory claim under ORS 471.565(2), arguing that King was liable as a social host. The trial court dismissed Plaintiff’s statutory claim; the court of appeals reversed; and this Court granted certiorari to determine whether ORS 471.565(2) provides a cause of action against alcohol providers that is separate from a claim for common-law negligence. On review of the legislative history of the enactment and subsequent judicial interpretations of former ORS 30.950 (1979), former ORS 30.955 (1979), and ORS 461.130 (1975), the Court held that ORS 471.565(2) does not create a cause of action independent from common law liability against third-party social hosts. Accordingly, the Court reversed the court of appeals, and affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s cause of action under ORS 471.565(2).

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