Ennabe v. Manosa, No. S189577.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtWERDEGAR
Citation319 P.3d 201,168 Cal.Rptr.3d 440,58 Cal.4th 697
Docket NumberNo. S189577.
Decision Date24 February 2014
PartiesFaiez ENNABE, Individually and as Administrator, etc., et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. Carlos MANOSA et al., Defendants and Respondents.

58 Cal.4th 697
319 P.3d 201
168 Cal.Rptr.3d 440

Faiez ENNABE, Individually and as Administrator, etc., et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
Carlos MANOSA et al., Defendants and Respondents.

No. S189577.

Supreme Court of California

Feb. 24, 2014.

See 6 Witkin, Summary of Cal.
Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, § 1072.

Innabi Law Group, Pasadena, Abdalla J. Innabi and Amer Innabi, for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

The Arkin Law Firm and Sharon J. Arkin, for Consumer Attorneys of California as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants.

Morris, Polich & Purdy, Los Angeles, Richard H. Nakamura, Jr., Dean A. Olson and Sheena Y. Kwon, for Defendants and Respondents.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Susan Duncan Lee, Acting State Solicitor General, Alicia M.B. Fowler, Assistant Attorney General, and Jerald L. Mosley, Deputy Attorney General, for Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as Amicus Curiae, upon the request of the Supreme Court.


Beginning in 1971 this court decided three cases that together reversed decades of previous law and recognized, for the first time, that sellers or furnishers of alcoholic beverages could be liable for injuries proximately caused by those who imbibed. ( Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153, 95 Cal.Rptr. 623, 486 P.2d 151;Bernhard v. Harrah's Club (1976) 16 Cal.3d 313, 128 Cal.Rptr. 215, 546 P.2d 719;Coulter v. Superior Court (1978) 21 Cal.3d 144, 145 Cal.Rptr. 534, 577 P.2d 669.) In 1978, the Legislature abrogated the holdings of those cases, largely reinstating the prior common law rule that the consumption of alcohol, not the service of alcohol, is the proximate cause of any resulting injury. (Bus. & Prof.Code, § 25602, subd. (c); Civ.Code, § 1714, subd. (b).) 1 The Legislature's action in essence created civil immunity for sellers and furnishers of alcohol in most situations. The Legislature also enacted section 25602.1, which created some narrow exceptions to this broad immunity, and we find one such exception relevant to this case. In addition to permitting liability in some circumstances for the provision of alcohol (i.e., the sale, furnishing or giving away of alcoholic beverages) by those licensed to sell alcohol (or who are required to be licensed), section 25602.1 also states that “any other person” who sells alcoholic beverages (or causes them to be sold) to an obviously intoxicated minor loses his or her civil immunity and can be liable for resulting injuries or death. Liability of such “other person[s]” is limited to those who sell alcohol; civil immunity is still the rule for nonlicensees who merely furnish or give drinks away.

We consider in this case whether defendant Jessica Manosa 2 can be liable under the foregoing exception when, at her party, an underage, intoxicated guest who was charged a fee to enter consumed alcoholic beverages defendant supplied and subsequently, in a drunken state, killed someone in an automobile accident. To assist in resolving the issues in this case, we solicited and obtained the views of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control,3 the state agency charged by our state Constitution with enforcement of the laws relating to the consumption of alcoholic beverages in this state. ( Cal. Const., art. XX, § 22, fifth par. [“The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control shall have the exclusive power, except as herein provided and in accordance with laws enacted by the Legislature, to license the ... sale of alcoholic beverages in this State....”].)

After considering the views of the parties and the Department of ABC, we conclude the pleaded facts, which allege defendant charged an entrance fee to some guests (including the minor who caused the death), payment of which entitled guests to drink the provided alcoholic beverages, raise a triable issue of fact whether defendant sold alcoholic beverages, or caused them to be sold, within the meaning of section 25602.1, rendering her potentially liable under the terms of that statute as a person who sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated minor. Having reached this decision, we need not, and thus do not, address the further question whether defendant might also be liable on the ground she was a person who was required to be licensed who furnished alcohol to an obviously intoxicated minor.

Because the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in defendant's favor, we reverse.

I. Background

As the case comes to this court following the trial court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment, we “recite the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party (here, plaintiffs).” ( Clayworth v. Pfizer, Inc. (2010) 49 Cal.4th 758, 764, 111 Cal.Rptr.3d 666, 233 P.3d 1066.) On the evening of April 27, 2007, defendant Jessica Manosa (Manosa) hosted a party at a vacant rental residence owned by her parents, defendants Carlos and Mary Manosa, without their consent. The party was publicized by word of mouth, telephone, and text messaging, resulting in an attendance of between 40 and 60 people. The vast majority of attendees were, like Manosa, under 21 years of age.

For her party, Manosa personally provided $60 for the purchase of rum, tequila, and beer. She also provided cups and cranberry juice, but nothing else. Two of Manosa's friends, Mario Aparicio and Marcello Aquino, also provided money toward the initial purchase of alcohol, and Aquino purchased the alcoholic beverages for the party with this money. The beer was placed in a refrigerator in the kitchen, and the tequila and “jungle juice” (a mixture of rum and fruit juice) were placed outside on a table at the side of the house. Manosa did not have a license to sell alcoholic beverages.

Guests began to arrive at the party around 9:00 p.m., entering through a side gate in the yard. Aquino heard Manosa ask Todd Brown to “stand by the side gate to kind of control the people that came in and if he didn't know them, then charge them some money to get into the party.” Brown thereafter served as a “bouncer,” standing at the gate and charging uninvited guests an admission fee of $3 to $5 per person. Once inside, partygoers enjoyed music played by a disc jockey Manosa had hired and could help themselves to the beer, tequila, and jungle juice.

Thomas Garcia, who had not been invited and was unknown to Manosa, testified that a “big, tall, husky, Caucasian dude” was charging an entrance fee to get into the party. Garcia paid $20 so that he and three or four of his friends could enter. The person who took Garcia's money, presumably Brown, told him alcoholic beverages were available if he wanted them. Mike Bosley, another uninvited guest, declared he was charged $5 to enter the party. Brown eventually collected between $50 and $60 in entrance fees, and this money was used to buy additional alcohol sometime during the party.4 The record is unclear whether any attendees brought their own alcoholic beverages or whether Manosa provided the only alcohol consumed on the premises.

Sometime before midnight, decedent Andrew Ennabe arrived at the party; he was Manosa's friend and an invited guest. Thomas Garcia and his friends arrived about 30 minutes later and were charged admission. Ennabe and Garcia, both under 21 years of age, were visibly intoxicated on arrival. Garcia in particular exhibited slurred speech and impaired faculties. By his own reckoning, he had consumed at least four shots of whiskey before arriving. Although Garcia later denied drinking anything at Manosa's party, other guests reported seeing him drinking there.

Once inside the gate, Garcia became rowdy, aggressive, and obnoxious. He made obscene and vaguely threatening comments to female guests, and either he or a friend dropped his pants. While Manosa claimed she was neither aware of Garcia's presence nor that he was causing problems with other guests, Garcia was eventually asked to leave for his inappropriate behavior. Ennabe and some other guests escorted Garcia and his friends off the premises and ultimately to their car. One of Garcia's friends spit on Ennabe, prompting Ennabe to chase him into the street. Garcia, who by this time was driving away, ran over Ennabe, severely injuring him. Ennabe later died from his injuries.5

Plaintiffs Faiez and Christina Ennabe, on behalf of themselves and the estate of their son, filed a wrongful death action against defendant Manosa and her parents. Plaintiffs asserted three causes of action: general negligence, premises liability, and liability under section 25602.1. Defendants moved for summary judgment or adjudication, claiming plaintiffs could not show defendants were liable under section 25602.1, which permits liability for certain persons who serve alcohol to obviously intoxicated minors, and that they were entitled to civil immunity under section 25602, subdivision (b) and Civil Code section 1714, subdivision (c). Plaintiffs countered that by charging an entrance fee, Manosa had “sold” alcohol to party guests and was thus not entitled to civil immunity. The trial court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on all causes of action and, in the alternative, also granted the motion for summary adjudication. The Court of Appeal affirmed.

We granted plaintiffs' petition for review.

II. Discussion

“ ‘ “A trial court properly grants a motion for summary judgment only if no issues of triable fact appear and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c);....) The moving party bears the burden of showing the court that the plaintiff ‘has not established, and cannot reasonably expect to establish,’ ” the elements of his or her cause of action. [Citation.]' [Citation.] We review the trial court's decision de novo, liberally construing the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolving doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party.” ( State of California v. Allstate Ins. Co. (2009) 45 Cal.4th 1008, 1017–1018, 90...

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