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The plain language of Ind. Code § 7.1-1-3-31 prohibits a person from giving alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person where the donor knows the other person is intoxicated.
Susan Ashlock, individually and as administratrix of the estate of Anthony Ashlock, filed a wrongful death action against Norris, which was premised upon the gratuitous furnishing of alcoholic beverages to a person who subsequently struck and killed Anthony with an automobile. The evidence indicated that on the night in question, Norris bought drinks for his acquaintance at a local lounge, subsequently helped the acquaintance to her car, and unsuccessfully attempted to persuade her not to drive. The acquaintance later struck and killed Anthony, who was jogging along the side of the road. At trial, the circuit court granted summary judgment to the donor.
Did Susan properly state a claim for relief against Norris premised upon the alleged violation of the state's liquor law, Ind. Code § 7.1-5-10-15?
The court reversed, holding that Susan properly stated a claim for relief against Norris premised upon the alleged violation of the state's liquor law, Ind. Code § 7.1-5-10-15, which prohibited a person from giving alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person when the donor knew that the other person was intoxicated. The court further stated that there was doubt concerning Norris’ alleged lack of knowledge of the acquaintance's intoxicated condition when he provided her with a drink. The court remanded the case to the circuit court for further proceedings.