The Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, has ruled that parents who knowingly let underage teens drink in their home are liable for damages if a teen injures someone or suffers injuries while under the influence. Although the ruling does not have a direct effect on cases of underage DUI in Los Angeles, justices in state courts do take note of the decisions of their peers in other states.
The ruling by Maryland’s Court came in two cases. One involved Manal Kiriakos, who had been out walking her dogs when she was hit by a car driven by 18-year-old Shetmiyah Robinson. He had been drinking vodka and orange juice at a co-worker’s home. Although the homeowner, Brandon Phillips, knew that Robinson was underage and expressed concern about Robinson’s sobriety, he let the teen drive himself home. When Robinson hit Kiriakos, she suffered life-threatening injuries and is still in pain. So Robinson sued Phillips for serving the teen alcohol.