Liability for serving alcohol to friends over the holidays in Minnesota

Published on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | by Gary M. Hazelton

Typically only bars and liquor stores (establishments licensed to sell alcohol) can be held liable for "illegal sales" of alcohol.  Minnesota does, however, have a limited Social Host liability statute. Anybody over the age of 21 who sells, furnishes or gives alcohol to a minor can be held liable for the harm caused by the intoxication of the minor.  The intoxicated minor does not have a claim but the minor's parents can bring a claim in certain instances.  Note that this law also places liability on those who knowingly allow underage drinking on their premises!  Allowing your minor child to hold a party where alcohol is consumed is the obvious example but the law might reach as far as hotels etc. knowing allowing minors to drink in the rooms or elsewhere on the premises. It is common for high school students to get rooms at hotels for the night of Christmas Formal or Prom.  As of yet there is no caselaw in Minneosta interpreting this particular provision of the statute. Read more