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Daughter Gets Pregnant at House Party, Dad Wants to Sue Homeowner

partyIf your teen drinks alcohol at the home of a friend whose parents aren’t home, you can legally hold those parents responsible.

According to criminallawyers.com, “Under social host liability laws, parents are responsible for underage drinking in their home. Basically, a parent that serves or supplies alcohol to underage drinkers can be liable if that person is injured or injures someone else.” In many cases the parent can be held responsible even if they aren’t home when minors drink alcohol in their home. “Liability depends on whether the parents should’ve known that underage drinking would occur in their home.”

So a father wanting to sue the homeowner who did not properly supervise a party his daughter attended isn’t completely in left field. The man asked the question of Emily Yoffe of Slate.com. Yoffe always posts some of the more interesting questions she, aka Dear Prudence, fields during her weekly live chats with readers. Here is his question:

I am furious with another set of parents. My 16-year-old daughter has recently told her mother and me that she is pregnant. It happened at a party that was not well-supervised, and there was alcohol involved. The boy involved and his family are owning up to their share of the responsibility, but the owners of the house are absolutely infuriating me. They need to admit their share of this burden, as it was their booze and their house party that allowed this to happen. My family is going to have a lot of expenses due to this new baby, and I don’t know how much the boy’s family can help, so it seems that the party’s host should help out, again as it was on their watch that this happened. So far, that family has ignored me when I have tried to speak with them about this. I am ready to call a lawyer to press the issue, but my wife thinks I am overreacting. What do you think?

Prudie’s answer is solid. She basically tells dad to stop trying to displace his anger and anxiety and seriously address the issue of his daughter’s pregnancy in a mature way. While I agree with Prudie the mad dad does bring up an interesting point. Is being negligent about alcohol served at a party in your home attended by minors really all that different than being negligent about sex between minors? Are the homeowners somewhat responsible for the pregnancy? Or is that absurd? What do you think?

(Sign up here to get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week. Read Prudie’s Slate columns here. Send questions to Prudence at prudence@slate.com.)

Image source: parentdish.com

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