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Liquor Control Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 436.33 provides a basis for liability where the complaint alleges negligence in furnishing intoxicating beverages to a minor. The proven violation of a penal statute is prima facie evidence of negligence. However, this type of evidence is only available to certain plaintiffs under certain situations. The court may adopt as the standard conduct of a reasonable man the requirements of a legislative enactment or an administrative regulation whose purpose is found to be exclusively or in part (a) to protect a class of persons which includes the one whose interest is invaded, and (b) to protect the particular interest which is invaded, and (c) to protect that interest against the kind of harm which has resulted, and (d) to protect that interest against the particular hazard from which the harm results.
Plaintiff’s nineteen-year-old son, Jamie Longstreth, attended a private wedding reception hosted by the Gensels and the Langstons. While at the reception, Jamie consumed an unspecified amount of alcoholic beverage. In the morning, Jamie was killed in an automobile accident. Plaintiffs initially alleged that the defendants breached a duty not to give, provide, or furnish alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of twenty-one. Plaintiffs further alleged that the defendants were negligent in furnishing alcohol to Jamie and that this negligence was the proximate cause of his death. In response to defendants' motion for summary judgment, plaintiffs argued that MCL 436.33; MSA 18.1004 imposed a duty not to furnish alcoholic beverage to a person under twenty-one years of age. The trial court noted that the common law did not recognize a cause of action against social hosts. It then ruled that the statute only applied to licensees under the Michigan Liquor Control Act, MCL 436.1 et seq.; MSA 18.971 et seq., and entered summary judgment for defendants. The appellate court reversed the trial court, holding that MCL 436.33; MSA 18.1004, was not limited to Liquor Control Act licensees; rather, it was applicable to all persons who violated its terms. Defendant challenged the decision.
Were the provisions of Mich. Comp. Laws § 436.33, Mich. Stat. Ann. § 188.1004 limited to Liquor Control Act licensees?
On further review, the Court affirmed the order of the appellate court and held that the provisions of § 436.33 were not limited to licensees and was intended to have a much broader scope than the trial court had accorded the statute. The Court concluded that § 436.33 was meant to protect those under the legal drinking age, and the parents' son fell within that class, and was also meant to protect against the kind of harm which resulted. Finally, the statute was meant to protect against the dangerous effects of intoxication to those under 21 years of age. Therefore, the parents were permitted to maintain a cause of action under § 436.33.