Group Not Liable For Employee's Drunk Driving

Group Not Liable For Employee's Drunk Driving

The highest state Court in Pennsylvania recently held that an organization is not liable for injuries caused by a drunk employee who crashed his car after leaving a company outing.

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. hosted a golf outing for its employees, asking each for a monetary contribution to defray expenses. One of the employees, who DFA had reason to know was an alcoholic, got drunk at the outing and struck a motorcyclist after leaving, causing serious injuries to the rider. The rider sued the driver and DFA for negligence. He contended that the so-called Dram Shop Act applied to all persons. DFA defended on the grounds that it was not a licensee under the Liquor Code, but merely a “social host.”

The trial court granted DFA’s motion to dismiss the case, and the Superior Court and the Pa. Supreme Court affirmed. The Supreme Court emphasized that though the Act prohibits any licensee or the board, or any employee, servant or agent of such licensee or the board, “or any other person” to furnish alcoholic beverages to a visibly intoxicated person, the phrase, “or any other person” was not intended to include social hosts or persons not related to the series of persons listed previously.

The Court applied the doctrine of ejusdem generis ("of the same kind or class"), asserting that the Act applies to persons who fall within the same general class as a "licensee," the "board," or an "employee, servant or agent" of a licensee or the board. A social host does not fall within this same class.

If you would like a consultation on this or any legal matter, do not hesitate to contact Scaringi Law at 717-657-7770.

Brian C. Caffrey
Senior Associate Attorney

Scaringi Law recommends attorney Brian C. Caffrey for Civil Litigation and Construction, Contract, Business, Professional Licensure/Administrative Law and Employment Law cases. You can call 717.775.7195, live CHAT with a rep, or fill-in our CONTACT form.


    • Please enter your first name.
    • Please enter your last name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
      Please enter your phone number.
    • This number is my:
    • Please make a selection.
    • This isn't a valid email address.
      Please enter your email address.
    • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
Put Us On Your Side