Schlumberger Tech. Corp. v. Arthey (Opinion)Annotate this Case
A corporation invited guests to a business retreat at the corporation’s expense at a lodge near the Gulf of Mexico. The lodge provided the guests with bay fishing from small boats. The corporation provided alcoholic beverages on the boats at the guests’ request. After one guest spent some time on the boat, returned to the lodge, and left to drive home, the guest struck a motorcycle ridden by the plaintiffs, who were severely injured. The plaintiffs sued the corporation, alleging that it negligently allowed the guest to drink excessively. Because Texas law does not recognize such social host liability, the plaintiffs asserted that federal maritime law applied in this case because, before the accident, the guest became intoxicated while on the fishing boat. The court of appeals concluded that maritime law applied. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, under the tests set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Jerome B. Grubart, Inc. v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., the action did not fall within admiralty jurisdiction.