Donald and Gloria Bowden hosted a cookout at their home in South Carolina, inviting mostly business acquaintances. Justin Parks, who was nineteen years old, attended the party. Alcoholic beverages were available to all of the guests, even those who, like Parks, were between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one. Parks consumed alcohol at the party and left with other guests. One of these guests detained Parks at the guest’s home to give Parks time to ‘sober up.’ Parks then drove himself from this guest’s home and was killed in a one-car accident. At the time of death, he had a blood alcohol content of 0.291 percent, which exceeded the state’s limit for driving a motor vehicle. Linda Marcum, Parks’s mother, filed a suit in South Carolina state court against the Bowdens and others, alleging that they were negligent.
Were the social hosts (Bowdens) liable in this situation? Why do some courts not treat social hosts the same as parents who serve alcoholic beverages to their underage children?