Employers Beware – Potential Liability for Serving Alcohol at Holiday Parties

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California law provides broad immunity from civil liability for a social host who “furnishes alcoholic beverages to any person,” as many Californians do at their house parties. (Civil Code section 1714 (c).) However, a social host loses that immunity if he or she “sells, or causes to be sold, any alcoholic beverage, to any obviously intoxicated minor.” (Business and Professions Code section 25602.1.)

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An added pressure to businesses can be the cost of responding to a subpoena requiring the production of documents. While many assume that only parties can be subpoenaed, a third party, also known as a non-party, can be subject to this power as well.

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