Kelly v. Gwinnell case brief
Facts: Gwinnell drove Zak home and stayed at his home for two hours drinking two or three drinks of scotch on the rocks. Later, Zak accompanied Gwinnell to his car and chatted with him and watched him drive off. On way home, Gwinnell was involved in a head on collision that resulted in injuries to Kelly. Kelly brought Zaks in as a social host that should be liable for Gwinnell’s drinking. Issue of whether a duty should be imposed to social hosts
Decision: Plaintiff wins, duty imposed over social hosts
Reasoning: “A tortfeasor is generally held answerable for the injuries which result in the ordinary course of events from his negligence and it is generally sufficient if his negligent conduct was a substantial factor in bringing about the injuries” Reasonable person in Zak’s shoes would foresee that Gwinnell could not operate his car carefully. Zak could foresee unless he stopped giving drinks, Gwinnell was likely to injure someone. It was mostly focused on foreseeability of Zak’s actions. Decided that because it is such a huge issue, duty should be expanded to cover this situation.
Dissent: Legislature in best shoes to impose the duty on social hosts because they can be most likely to effect the best change to serve societies needs. Thinks court did not consider social implications of its decision and that is a huge issue; court should have done research on that to figure out if it actually will turn out to be a huge issue. Not clear how far the duty extends which is a problem.
Holding: A defendant is liable for the injuries sustained by a 3rd party when that 3rd party was under defendants control and defendant could have stopped the injury from occurring.