Stambach by Kenyon v. Pierce

Decision Date08 April 1988
Citation527 N.Y.S.2d 145,136 A.D.2d 329
PartiesWilliam L. STAMBACH, by his Guardian Ad Litem, William KENYON and John Stambach and Patricia Stambach, Respondents, v. Leon PIERCE, Individually and as an Ontario County Deputy Sheriff, Appellant, and Gary Stewart, Ontario County Sheriff, Defendant.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

Bond and McDonald, Geneva, for appellant; William McDonald, of counsel.

Stephen D. Aronson, Canandaigua, for respondents.

Before DOERR, J.P., and DENMAN, PINE, BALIO and DAVIS, JJ.

PINE, Justice.

Plaintiff William Stambach was eighteen years old when he allegedly purchased beer from defendant Leon Pierce at the Cheshire Firemen's Carnival on the evening of July 4, 1985. At about 1:19 a.m. on July 5, 1985, Stambach was riding on his motorcycle when he was seriously injured in an accident, allegedly because he was under the influence of alcohol served to him at the carnival.

In his complaint Stambach alleged inter alia a cause of action for negligence against Pierce. Special Term denied defendant's motion pursuant to CPLR 3211 to dismiss that cause of action.

On a motion to dismiss the issue is whether a cause of action has been stated, not whether it can be proved ( Amico v. Erie County Legislature, 64 Misc.2d 829, 315 N.Y.S.2d 926, revd. on other grounds 36 A.D.2d 415, 321 N.Y.S.2d 134, affd. 30 N.Y.2d 729, 332 N.Y.S.2d 898, 283 N.E.2d 769). All the factual allegations of the complaint must be assumed to be true, and the pleadings are deemed to allege whatever cause of action can be fairly implied ( 219 Broadway Corp. v. Alexander's, Inc., 46 N.Y.2d 506, 509, 414 N.Y.S.2d 889, 387 N.E.2d 1205; Dulberg v. Mock, 1 N.Y.2d 54, 56, 150 N.Y.S.2d 180, 133 N.E.2d 695).

The court stated that violation of Alcoholic Beverage Control Law § 65(1) and Penal Law § 260.20(4) could be considered as some evidence of negligence and distinguished Vadasy v. Feigel's Tavern, 88 Misc.2d 614, 391 N.Y.S.2d 32, affd. on opn. below 55 A.D.2d 1011, 391 N.Y.S.2d 999, lv. denied 42 N.Y.2d 805, 398 N.Y.S.2d 1026, 367 N.E.2d 659, on the ground that plaintiff's recovery at that time was barred by contributory negligence. The court relied on Dynarski v. U-Crest Fire Dist., 112 Misc.2d 344, 447 N.Y.S.2d 86, Montgomery v. Orr, 130 Misc.2d 807, 498 N.Y.S.2d 968, and dicta in Allen v. County of Westchester, 109 A.D.2d 475, 492 N.Y.S.2d 772, appeal dismissed 66 N.Y.2d 915, 498 N.Y.S.2d 1027, 489 N.E.2d 773.

The issue before us is whether an intoxicated infant has a common law negligence cause of action for his own injuries against a seller based on alleged violation of Penal Law § 260.20(4) or Alcoholic Beverage Control Law § 65(1).

Traditional tort analysis favors such a cause of action based on the violation of Penal Law § 260.20(4), which in July 1985 provided:

A person is guilty of unlawfully dealing with a child when:

(4) He gives or sells or causes to be given or sold any alcoholic beverage, as defined by section three of the alcoholic beverage control law, to a child less than nineteen years old; except that this subdivision does not apply to the parent or guardian of such a child * * *.

While statutory violations do not necessarily give rise to tort actions, both civil and criminal statutes have been found to create a duty to a plaintiff when this is in accord with the legislative purpose served by the statute (see, Prosser and Keeton, Torts § 36, at 222 [5th ed.]; Koenig v. Patrick Constr. Corp., 298 N.Y. 313, 317, 83 N.E.2d 133). Children have been held to be within the class of persons sought to be protected, for instance, by Labor Law § 130 ( Vincent v. Riggi & Sons, 30 N.Y.2d 406, 334 N.Y.S.2d 380, 285 N.E.2d 689; Shaffer v. Aumick, 53 A.D.2d 1027, 385 N.Y.S.2d 904) and by the predecessor of Penal Law § 265.05 ( Henningsen v. Markowitz, 132 Misc. 547, 230 N.Y.S. 313).

We conclude that Penal Law § 260.20(4) was intended to protect minors ( see, People v. Arriaga, 45 Misc.2d 399, 401, 257 N.Y.S.2d 66) and creates a duty to them. The violation of that section establishes negligence ( see, Martin v. Herzog, 228 N.Y. 164, 169-170, 126 N.E. 814; see also, Orner v. Mallick, 515 Pa. 132, 527 A.2d 521 [1987]; Congini v. Portersville Valve Co., 504 Pa. 157, 470 A.2d 515 [1983]). Thus, a negligence cause of action by an intoxicated minor who is injured may be grounded on a violation of Penal Law § 260.20(4) (Dynarski v. U-Crest Fire Dist., supra ).

We...

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 cases
  • Anderson v. Moulder
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • May 18, 1990
    ... ... DMI, Inc., 220 Mont. 153, 717 P.2d 545 (1986); Stambach v. Pierce, 136 A.D.2d 329, 527 N.Y.S.2d 145 (1988); Smith v. Clark, 411 Pa. 142, 190 A.2d 441 ... ...
  • People v. Heil
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • April 21, 2010
    ... ... Big Flats Community Day, Inc., 73 N.Y.2d 629, 543 N.Y.S.2d 18, 541 N.E.2d 18 [1989]; Stambach by Kenyon v. Pierce, 136 A.D.2d 329, 527 N.Y.S.2d 145 [4th Dept. 1988]; Burns by Burns v. Adler, ... ...
  • Sheehy v. Big Flats Community Day, Inc.
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • June 6, 1989
    ... ... among the Appellate Divisions (compare, 137 A.D.2d 160, 528 N.Y.S.2d 213, supra, with Stambach v. Pierce, 136 A.D.2d 329, 527 N.Y.S.2d 145), is whether a private right of action for damages ... ...
  • Sheehy v. Big Flats Community Day, Inc.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • May 12, 1988
    ... ... , we note our disagreement with the Fourth Department's recent holding to the contrary in Stambachur disagreement with the Fourth Department's recent holding to the contrary in Stambach v. Pierce ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT