I participated in a panel discussion at a local high school a week or so ago. The attendees were high school students and their parents. The other participants on the panel included a local juvenile court judge, a police officer, and an assistant district attorney.
Some of the questions included the potential liability of parents for furnishing alcohol to minors and various, easy-to-imagine spin-off questions. One question was the liability of an adult who comes upon a drunken minor but did not nothing to furnish alcohol to the minor, did not own or occupy the site where the alcohol was given to the minor, and had no relationship with the minor. If the adult simply ignores the minor and watches him get into a car and drive away, does the adult have any liability if the minor dies in a one-car wreck a block down the road?
This is a moral and a legal question – and I informed the group that I would leave the moral question to" pillow test." Legally, there is no liability on the adult because there is no duty on the adult to rescue another from the potential for harm or to otherwise come to the aid of a stranger. We had a nice discussion about it, and also about the consequences of deciding to lend aid under such circumstances.