Oregon Case Law Update: Patron Not Prohibited from Filing Third Party Complaint Against Alcohol Provider

Oregon Case Law Update: Patron Not Prohibited from Filing Third Party Complaint Against Alcohol Provider

From the Desk of Jeff Eberhard:  A few months ago, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that ORS 471.565(1), which prevents a patron who voluntarily consumed alcohol from bringing suit against the alcohol provider, to be unconstitutional in the context of a social host. [See our prior Case Update on Schutz here].  In this case, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that ORS 471.565(1) does not prohibit an intoxicated patron from filing a third-party complaint against the alcohol provider in a lawsuit brought by the injured plaintiff against the patron.

Claims Pointer: In this case arising out of injuries suffered by a plaintiff when an intoxicated patron crashed in the plaintiff’s home, the Oregon Court of Appeals was tasked with deciding whether ORS 471.565(1) prevents the intoxicated patron from bringing the alcohol provider into the lawsuit by a third-party complaint.  The court looked to the plain text of the statute and the legislative history underlying the statute, and determined that the legislature would not have intended for ORS 471.565(1) to prevent a patron from impleading the provider.  Because the court was able to resolve the case on a “subconstitutional level,” it did not consider whether ORS 471.565(1) was constitutional in the context of a third-party claim.

Wilda v. Roe, 290 Or App 599 (2018)

Steven Roe (“Roe”) went out and visited a few taverns, where he consumed alcohol until he became intoxicated.  While driving, Roe fell asleep and crashed into the house where Charles Wilda (“Plaintiff”) was asleep in his bed.  Plaintiff filed suit against Roe, who admitted to the negligence and filed a third-party complaint against B & B Wachter, Inc., dba Round Butte Inn (“Round Butte”) and L & K Semm, Inc., dba Desert Inn Bar & Grill, Inc. (“Desert Inn”) (collectively “the taverns”) for serving him while he was intoxicated. ...

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