By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Piero Larrea was apparently not a happy drunk. While being driven home by a friend at 4 in the morning from a party in New Orleans, he got belligerent with the driver who kicked him out of the car. Larrea was hit by a hit-and-run driver who has never been found, and died on the side of the road.
Larrea’s father sued the friend, saying he was at fault for kicking Larrea out of the car and was legally responsible for his son’s death.
By law, a bar can’t let patrons drive home drunk, and in some states social hosts who know guests are drunk can be held responsible, but is a friend legally liable for his friend’s safe ride home if the driver knows the friend is drunk?
The court in New Orleans said yes, to a certain extent. The jury split the $317,000 verdict, saying that 18% was the fault of the unknown hit-and-run driver, 54% was the fault of Larrea himself and that the friend was 28% at fault for the death.
While this decision applies to Louisiana law, it’s good for us to remember our responsibility, be it legal or moral: If you don’t want to drive a belligerent drunk home, either don’t go drinking with him or call him a cab.