Attorney says house party hosts can be liable if guests drive under the influence, cause a crash

Posted at 5:32 PM, Dec 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 19:32:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Some may look to skip the crowded bars Thursday night and opt to host their own house party, but attorneys say there are some serious legal responsibilities that could come with that decision.

"What happens at your house is ultimately your responsibility," Attorney Greg Skordas said.

He said party hosts could be on the hook for up to $2 million worth of damages if party-goers leave their homes and then later get into accidents.

"Home owners don't have that level of training," Skordas said, comparing home owners to bartenders. He points out that bartenders are trained to look for signs of intoxication.

"Slurred speech, confusion," said bar-owner David Morris, as he listed off symptoms of drunk patrons. "That's our job, and compare a bartender at a job to a homeowner. He's drinking too, so there's no controls."

Morris owns multiple bars in Salt Lake City. He said the biggest problem may not be identifying drunk patrons, but instead, making sure they don't find a way to drive home intoxicated.

“We will pay $10 of your Uber ride to get to the bars tonight,” Morris said.

He wants to roll out a new strategy in hopes that people won't drive to the bars in the first place. He's offering Uber and Lyft discounts to his three bars, Piper Down, Funk n' Dive, and Ice Haus.

"I'm really pioneering this effort," he adds.

The codes for those discounts are available below:

To Piper Down: "PDNYEEVENT"
To Funk n' Dive: "FUNKYEVENT"
If you are new to Uber, use "PDPNEW" for a $20 Credit
If you are new to Lyft use "PIPERLYFT" for $50 Credit.