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Przekurat v. Torres

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

September 10, 2018

Jared J. Przekurat, by and through his parent, Co-Guardian, Co-Conservator and next friend, Jerome Przekurat, Petitioner
v.
Christopher Torres, Samuel S. Stimson, Peter Stimson, and Mitchell Davis. Respondents

          Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals Case No. 15CA1327

          Attorneys for Petitioner: Ciccarelli & Associates, P.C. A. Troy Ciccarelli Littleton, Colorado

          The Fowler Law Firm, LLC Timms R. Fowler Fort Collins, Colorado

          Attorneys for Respondent Christopher Torres: Hall & Evans, L.L.C. Alan Epstein Denver, Colorado, Ray Lego & Associates Thomas E. Hames Greenwood Village, Colorado

          Attorneys for Respondents Samuel S. Stimson and Peter Stimson: The Prendergast Law Firm P.C. Paul Prendergast Littleton, Colorado

          Attorneys for Respondent Mitchell Davis: Campbell, Latiolais & Averbach, LLC Colin C. Campbell Greenwood Village, Colorado

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Defense Lawyers Association: Ruebel & Quillen, LLC Julia L. Stamski Jeffrey Ruebel Westminster, Colorado

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Trial Lawyers Association: Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh Jardine, PC Jessica L. Derakhshanian Nelson Boyle Englewood, Colorado

          OPINION

          HART, JUSTICE

          ¶1 Does Colorado's dram-shop liability statute require a social host who provides a place to drink alcohol to have actual knowledge that a specific guest is underage to be held liable for any damage or injury caused by that underage guest? Concluding that the plain language of the statute is unambiguous, we hold today that it does.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         ¶2 One night in June 2011, Defendants Mitchell Davis, Samuel Stimson, Peter Stimson, and Christopher Torres threw a party at a house they were renting in Boulder to celebrate one defendant's birthday and another's college graduation. They invited a number of people, and information about the party was posted on social media. Between 20 and 120 guests attended at various points throughout the evening. Not all who came to the party had been specifically invited by the defendants. Some heard about it from other party-goers. Some guests may have brought their own alcohol, but alcohol was provided by the party hosts as well.

         ¶3 Plaintiff Jared Prezkurat and Hank Sieck went to the party that night with Victor Mejia. Mejia had heard about the party through a friend, Robert Fix, who knew the defendants and helped plan the party. Sieck was twenty-years old. None of the defendants knew Sieck before that night. During the party, the only interaction that any of the defendants may have had with Sieck was a brief encounter when defendant Torres greeted Mejia and others, saying to Mejia, "I don't really know these other people, but I know you." Sieck, for his part, does not recall meeting Torres. There is no evidence in the record that any of the defendants were aware that Sieck was underage.

         ¶4 Sieck drank both beer and hard alcohol at the party. Around 2 a.m., Sieck, Mejia, and Przekurat left the party in Przekurat's car. Sieck drove, at times going more than one-hundred miles per hour. He lost control of the car and drove into a ditch, rolling the car several times. ...


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