Illinois Supreme Court denies social host liability claim


In May, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down its decision in Bell v. Hutsell, Docket No. 110724. In this case, at issue was whether the defendants were liable for the death of Daniel Bell, a young 18 year old man who had imbibed alcohol at the defendants’ house while attending a party held by the defendants’ son. Soon after leaving the party, Daniel died in a single-car automobile accident.

In the lawsuit, it was alleged that the defendants were responsible for Daniel’s death. The plaintiff claimed the the defendants were aware that there was underage drinking going on at their house on the evening of Daniel’s death, but they did nothing to prevent it from occurring. It was also alleged that this type of activity had occurred in the past. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that defendants voluntarily undertook the duty to prevent the underage consumption of alcoholic beverages on their premises and that they negligently performed that duty. The defendants denied the allegations.

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