The 1978 Legislature made imposition of civil liability for furnishing liquor to an adult expressly prohibited. No Civil Liability. “No person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to be sold, furnished, or given away, any alcoholic beverage” under B. & P.C. 25602(a) “shall be civilly liable to any injured person or the estate of such person for injuries inflicted on that person as a result of intoxication by the consumer of such alcoholic beverage.” (B. & P.C. 25602(b).) The only exception is that an action may be brought by or on behalf of any person who has suffered injury or death proximately caused by the furnishing of alcohol to an obviously intoxicated minor.
For example the bar who served the police officer in St. Louis County prior to a fatal crash, would be immune from liability in Califronia despite the fact that the parents are suing the restaurant because its "employees knew Miller was intoxicated" and did not stop her from driving or call her a cab, according to the lawsuit. The suit claims bar workers served Miller alcohol despite slurred speech and unsteady gait.
There was a time when the law did hold bars responsible. However, this only lasted a couple of years before the legislature shot the theory of liability down. What do you think? From a public policy perspective shouldn’t businesses who serve alcohol to all obviously intoxicated Laker Parade goers, (despite whether they are minors) be held responsible by the civil justice system? Perhaps its time to reevaluate this 1978 law and change it to reflect a 21st century knowledge of drinking and driving.