Indiana Supreme Court Considers House Party Case

Wrongful Death Blackburn & Green - August 4, 2016

Indiana Supreme Court Considers House Party Case

Have you ever wondered whether you could be liable if someone is injured while at a party at your house?  The Indiana Supreme Court is set to rule on a case brought on behalf of a man who was allegedly beaten by one of the hosts of a party he attended.

In the case, a woman and her boyfriend hosted a house party at which beer was served. It was alleged that the boyfriend bought a keg of beer for party guests from an account the couple shared.

Near the end of the party, the boyfriend got into a fight with one of the guests, hurting him badly. The girlfriend was asleep upstairs when the fight occurred. The boyfriend woke her, and she went to the basement, where the guest lay unconscious. The girlfriend asked her boyfriend to make sure the guest left the house, then she went back to bed. The guest was carried out of the house, where he was later found dead.

The personal representative of the guest’s estate brought a personal injury lawsuit under Indiana law against the couple that hosted the party. A trial judge dismissed the case in favor of the homeowner without holding a trial. The Indiana Court of Appeals, disagreeing with this result, reversed the dismissal and remanded the case for a trial. However, the Indiana Supreme Court decided to review the case.

The Supreme Court heard the parties’ arguments about the case in May. The justices’ questions focused on whether the female party host might have had a duty to exercise reasonable care with regard to her guests. The justices asked questions relating to topics such as these:

  • Did the female party host have a duty to render aid to her social guest?
  • Did the female homeowner have a duty to exercise reasonable care for her guest, such as calling 911?
  • Did the female party host have a duty not to serve the guest more alcohol if she knew that he was intoxicated?

The court’s decision will help to define the duties party hosts owe to their guests. A decision should be out later this year.

The experienced personal injury attorneys of Blackburn & Green work to help injured people who were harmed by wrongdoers. If you suffered an injury at a house party, schedule a free consultation at one of our 26 office locations across Indiana by calling (800) 444-1112 or (260) 422-4400. You may also complete our online form to get started today.