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Rust v. Reyer
693 N.E.2d 1074, N.Y., NY, 04/02/1998
Category Victim v. Third Party 
Topic Social Host 
Crime Assault 
Location Residence 
Prevailing Party Plaintiff 
Other Parties Perpetrator 


Statement of Facts: While her parents were away for the weekend, Heidi Reyer held a party at her house and invited her fellow high school classmates. In exchange for a portion of the proceeds, Reyer asked a high school fraternity to provide beer. At the party, Reyer did not dispense beer, collect money, stamp hands or distribute cups. After several complaints by neighbors, the police broke up the party. However, many students, including the plaintiff, Carol Rust, hung around in the street near Reyer's house. An altercation erupted wherein Stephen Tarantino punched the plaintiff in the face, causing severe injuries. The plaintiff filed suit against Tarantino, Reyer and her parents. Tarantino settled with the plaintiff. The trial court granted summary judgment to the remaining defendants and the plaintiff appealed. Holding: The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's order granting summary judgment to Reyer and her parents. After focusing on the public policy issue of imposing liability on social hosts as a deterrent to underage drinking, the Court held that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether Reyer had furnished alcohol to Tarantino, a minor-attendee of the party. Although Reyer herself never actually served alcohol to any party guest, the Court determined that a factfinder could conclude that Reyer's actions constituted "furnishing" alcohol. The Court highlighted that Reyer permitted alcohol at the party, provided storage for the kegs and negotiated a share of the profits. Thus, she could be viewed as part of a deliberate plan to provide, supply or give alcohol to an underage person. 

Damage Award Not tried 
Victim's Counsel     
Plaintiff's Counsel Carlucci & Legum, Mineola 
Plaintiff's Expert      
Defense Counsel Devitt, Spellman, Barrett, Callahan, Leyden & Kennedy, Smithtown 
Defense Expert

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