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The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Tex. Alco. Bev. Code Ann. §§ 1-251, precludes the recognition of a social-host civil cause of action for making alcohol available to guests under age 18.
Alcohol was available to minors at the host's home. A minor there, who consumed significant alcohol, struck the injured person. Appellee injured person sued appellant social host. The trial court granted the host's summary judgment motion, but the Court of Appeals for the Ninth District of Texas found the host's actions were negligence per se. The host sought further review.
Under the circumstances, may the appellee injured person recover against the appellant social host for the injuries caused by the minor?
The judgment of the court of appeals was reversed, and judgment was rendered that the injured person take nothing. Under Tex. Alco. Bev. Code Ann. § 106.06 it was a criminal offense to make alcohol available to those under 21. To base a civil cause of action against the host on § 106.06, under the negligence per se doctrine, the court had to decide if such action was inconsistent with legislative intent. The legislature comprehensively regulated alcohol, dividing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code into separate criminal and civil liability sections. The civil liability section contained the Dram Shop Act, Tex. Alco. Bev. Code Ann. § 2.03, creating a civil cause of action only against commercial alcohol providers. The legislature specifically rejected a civil cause of action against social hosts when it enacted § 2.03. These actions showed it was inconsistent with legislative intent to base negligence per se on a violation of § 106.06. These reasons also required the rejection of a new social-host ordinary negligence duty not to make alcohol available to minors.