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Rybicki v. Carlson

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fourth Division

May 22, 2013

ADAM RYBICKI et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
ASHLEY CARLSON et al., Defendants and Respondents.

APPEAL from judgments of the Superior Court for Los Angeles County No. YC064733, Roy L. Paul, Judge.

Daniel M. Graham for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

Demler, Armstrong & Rowland and Robert W. Armstrong for Defendant and Respondent Chelsea Meyer.

Inglis, Ledbetter, Gower & Warriner, Gregory J. Bramlage and Richard S. Gower for Defendant and Respondent Tara Rohar.

No appearances for Defendants and Respondents Ashley Carlson or Alexandra Milutin.

WILLHITE, Acting P. J.

In April 2011, five young women, all under the age of 21, got into a car after partying all night (and drinking alcohol) at a friend’s house. Driving on the wrong side of the road, the car collided with a bicyclist, who was seriously injured. The bicyclist and his wife sued, among others, all of the occupants of the car. The trial court entered judgments in favor of the four passengers. The question presented in this appeal is whether the four women who were not driving, but who are alleged to have supplied some of the alcohol that was consumed at the friend’s house, can be held liable for the bicyclist’s injuries. We conclude that the Legislature, by enacting Civil Code section 1714 (hereafter section 1714), has precluded any liability claim against the women. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments.

BACKGROUND

This appeal comes to us from a judgment entered after a motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted and demurrers were sustained without leave to amend. Our statement of facts, therefore, is based upon the allegations of the complaint. (Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 318 [on review of demurrer, court assumes the truth of the allegations of the complaint]; Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Lyons (2000) 24 Cal.4th 468, 515-516 [same standard for review of motion for judgment on the pleadings].)

On April 2, 2011, defendants Jaclyn Andrea Garcia, Ashley Carlson, Alexandra Milutin, Tara Rohar, and Chelsea Meyer attended a party at the home of defendant Garrett P. Shoemaker.[1] Either before or during the party, Carlson, Milutin, Rohar, and/or Meyer (collectively, respondents) went to a store to procure alcoholic beverages, and brought those beverages to Shoemaker’s home. Shoemaker furnished the alcoholic beverages to Garcia during the party, which lasted until the early morning of April 3.

That morning, respondents left Shoemaker’s home in a car being driven by Garcia.[2] At around 7:15 a.m., plaintiff Adam Rybicki was riding his bicycle northbound on Camino de Encanto in the City of Torrance when he was hit by the car driven by Garcia, which was travelling southbound on the wrong side of the road. Rybicki was seriously injured. He and his wife, plaintiff Barbara Rybicki, subsequently filed a lawsuit against Garcia, respondents, Shoemaker, and others. The complaint alleged, among other claims, causes of action against Garcia based upon her driving the car that injured Rybicki, a cause of action against Shoemaker alleging a violation of section 1714, and causes of action against respondents alleging civil conspiracy to violate section 1714 and aiding and abetting a violation of section 1714.

In the claims against respondents, plaintiffs alleged that respondents, all of whom were under the age of 21, went to a retail establishment for the purpose of purchasing alcoholic beverages to be consumed at Shoemaker’s home. Plaintiffs alleged that respondents solicited adults to purchase the beverages for them, that they brought them back to Shoemaker’s home, and that Shoemaker then furnished the alcoholic beverages to Garcia. The complaint alleged that the furnishing of alcohol to Garcia, “with the assistance of the conspiratorial acts of [respondents]” and/or “with the aid, abetting and assistance of [respondents]” caused substantial injuries and damages to plaintiffs.

Carson, Rohar, and Milutin each filed demurrers to the complaint, and Meyer filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The court sustained without leave to amend each of the demurrers and granted Meyer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, and entered judgments in favor of each of the respondents. ...


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