Legal Protections for TN Party Hosts Serving Guests Alcohol

Posted at 8:57 PM, Dec 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-13 23:52:42-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — If you plan on hosting a holiday party this year and serving alcohol as part of your celebration, some state laws could keep you from being held responsible for what your guests do afterwards.

While its not the case in every state, in Tennessee, laws protect you from being sued if one of your party guests gets in a car crash or otherwise hurts someone after drinking too much.

It's called a Social Host Liability Law.

But Nashville attorney Jim Higgins says for you to remain protected, you can't sell alcohol to your guests.

That could also include things like a cover charge, or asking your guests to help cover the cost of the alcohol.

"If the person charged asked the person to pitch in for the alcohol, I would argue at that point the person becomes a vendor, and they can be liable for over-serving somebody," said Nashville attorney Jim Higgins.

Higgins says the civil suit protections do not protect people from criminal charges for breaking laws, like serving alcohol to minors.