Patriots' Owner Sued as 'Social Host' for 2 Tailgating Deaths - Tarnished Twenty
Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Patriots' Owner Sued as 'Social Host' for 2 Tailgating Deaths

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being sued by the parents of two young women who blame Kraft for their drunken driving deaths.

In 2008, three friends -- 20-year-old Debra Davis, 19-year-old Alexa Latteo, and 20-year-old Nina Houlihan -- took part in tailgating festivities outside the New England Country Music Festival held at Gillette Stadium.

The tailgating event was allegedly well-known to be a haven for underage drinking and partying, and the three underage women got hammered as they partied, Boston's WBUR radio reports. When they left the party, Latteo got behind the wheel of a car and crashed into a tree, killing herself and Davis. Houlihan suffered serious injuries, but survived.

The parents of the women argue that Kraft should be held responsible for the deaths as he was essentially a social host, charging people to come onto his property to drink and party.

In his defense, Kraft says that he should not be held liable. His lawyers compare him to the parent of a teenager who leaves town to discover that his child threw a party at his house. A court had found that in this situation, the homeowner would not be liable for any injuries or deaths so long as the homeowner did not provide the alcohol to the underage party-goers, according to WBUR.

While no one is claiming that Kraft personally gave the underage women alcohol, the plaintiffs argue that he created an atmosphere where underage drinking was allowed. They claim that underage tailgaters were openly carrying alcohol and were playing drinking games with complete impunity, reports WBUR.

And unlike the parent of a child who throws a party, the plaintiffs argue that Kraft should be distinguished as he is a business person who profited off the party-goers.

It will be interesting to see if the court will hold Kraft personally liable for the deaths of the two women. While he did not provide alcohol to any underage individuals, the argument has been made that he was a social host who essentially turned the other cheek to underage drinking.

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