Articles Tagged with “Massachusetts Social Host Law”

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was interviewed by NBC Boston in segment: “After Fatal Pembroke Crash, Could Holiday Hosts Be Held Liable?”

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was interviewed by NBC Boston as part of its ongoing coverage of the Hi-Way Safety Systems holiday party and the subsequent deaths and injuries. At least three employees are now facing criminal charges, including one in an alleged high-speed drunk driving crash in Pembroke, which killed a teenage girl. A fourth employee was found dead in a Rockland motel in the subsequent hours.

The NBC Boston segment, which aired on January 8, 2020, focused on whether the party hosts may also face criminal charges under the Massachusetts social host law and civil lawsuits. The company reportedly hosted the party.

Breakstone is a Boston personal injury lawyer with over 30 years of experience representing victims of negligence. He said victims may able to file civil lawsuits in these serious cases.

“Key is the issue of control. If I control the service of alcohol in my home, and I have the ability to shut someone off and don’t, I could be liable.”

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s office and police now want to interview each party guest to learn more about the circumstances. In the wake of the crash, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced Hi-Way Safety Systems can no longer bid on state contracts. Hi-Way Safety Systems has announced the employee who caused the Pembroke crash which killed a teenage girl and seriously injured another victim has been fired. He has been charged with one count of manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, two counts of operating under the influence causing serious bodily injury and other offenses. He was ordered held without bail in Plymouth District Court.

Watch the NBC Boston segment.

Continue reading

Attorney David W. White, a Boston personal injury lawyerAttorney David W. White was interviewed by Boston 25 News about the potential for social host liability lawsuits following the Hi-Way Safety Systems holiday party and fatal crash in Pembroke, Massachusetts. The driver in that crash is now facing numerous criminal charges related to a teen’s death and injuries to others at the scene, including manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI).

“Now in Massachusetts, that’s a very hard thing to prove,” he said. “You have to be able to show that the host knew or should have known that the guest was getting intoxicated. And it has to be their alcohol. So if a guest brings his or her own alcohol to the party, then there would not be any social host liability.”

Parts of his interview was broadcast last night and this morning. Follow the news website for ongoing coverage: https://www.boston25news.com/

DW-250.jpgDuring prom and graduation season, students should be enjoying their friends and last days of high school. But this time can turn painful if you or your teenager allow underage drinking in your home.

Breakstone, White & Gluck cares about the safety of teenagers on the road and offers these tips and reminders about the Massachusetts Social Host Law, M.G.L. c. 138, § 34.

“Very few parents realize just how much is at stake when they allow underage drinking in their home,” said Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck. “You may have to live with the painful knowledge that you contributed to a car accident which caused serious injury or death. Plus, you may have to serve jail time and could even lose your home to a lawsuit.”

It is prom and graduation season, an important time for parents to speak to their teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving. While the priority is on our children’s safety, parents also need to understand social host liability in Massachusetts if underage drinkers consume alcohol in their home.

It is well known that anyone under 21 who drinks alcohol in Massachusetts can be charged criminally, as can anyone who furnishes alcohol to a person under 21. But many people do not know that under the state’s social host responsibility law , there are serious consequences for parents who allow teens and their friends to consume alcohol in their homes. Parents may face imprisonment and fines under the law as well as civil penalties.

“The most important reason to follow this law is the safety of our children and other travelers on the road,” said Boston personal injury attorney Marc L. Breakstone, who has experience handling Massachusetts social host liability cases. “Even if the parents are not home and not aware of the illegal consumption of alcohol in their homes, they can still be criminally and civilly liable under this law.”

Click here to read more about the Massachusetts social host responsibility law from the Boston, Massachsuetts premises liability lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck.
Continue reading

The Massachusetts social host law was back in the media this weekend when a mother and son were arrested following a large underage drinking party at their Cohasset home.

Police found 30 people at the Deep Run Road gathering. The mother was charged with furnishing alcohol to minors under the social host law, keeping a disorderly house and disturbing the peace. Her 18-year-old son was charged with furnishing alcohol to minors and being a minor in possession of alcohol.

The Massachusetts social host law was passed in 2000 after the 1996 death of a Marshfield teen. The teen had been drinking at a Cohasset graduation party and left with a blood alcohol limit of .19, crashing his car.

In that case, the homeowner was at the party but acquitted of providing alcohol to a minor. This was in part because underage guests helped themselves to unsupervised alcohol and were not offered drinks.

The social host law now holds Massachusetts homeowners and their teenagers more accountable. It is against the law to serve minors alcohol and allow them to consume it on any premises you control. The penalty is a fine up to $2,000, imprisonment for a year or both.

A person charged under the law can expect to face a civil lawsuit as well. If an underage guest leaves a party and causes a motor vehicle accident involving personal injury or death, both the underage guest and the party host may be liable.

When two or more parties are found civilly liable, any one of them may be required to pay the full judgment if the other party or parties cannot afford to pay.
Continue reading