2020 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 1 - General Provisions
§ 51-1-18. Furnishing Alcoholic Beverages to Minor Children; Gambling With Minor Children

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-1-18 (2020)
  1. The custodial parent or parents shall have a right of action against any person who shall sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to that parent's underage child for the child's use without the permission of the child's parent.
  2. A parent shall have a right of action against any person who shall play and bet at any game of chance with his minor child for money or any other thing of value without the parent's permission.

(Orig. Code 1863, §§ 2952, 2953; Code 1868, §§ 2959, 2960; Code 1873, §§ 3010, 3011; Code 1882, §§ 3010, 3011; Civil Code 1895, §§ 3871, 3872; Civil Code 1910, §§ 4467, 4468; Code 1933, §§ 105-1205, 105-1206; Ga. L. 1988, p. 365, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Constitutional provisions on alcohol, U.S. Const., amend 21.

Prohibition of sale of alcoholic beverages by or to underage persons generally, § 3-3-23 et seq.

Sale of alcoholic beverages to minors generally, § 3-3-24.

Gambling and related offenses, § 16-12-20 et seq.

Editor's notes.

- Section 2 of Ga. L. 1988, p. 365, not codified by the General Assembly, provided that nothing in that Act shall be construed to create any new or additional cause of action.

Law reviews.

- For annual survey of tort law, see 58 Mercer L. Rev. 385 (2006). For note discussing organized crime in Georgia with respect to the application of state gambling laws, and suggesting proposals for combatting organized crime, see 7 Ga. St. B. J. 124 (1970). For note discussing tavern keeper liability in Georgia for injury caused by a person to whom an intoxicant was sold, see 9 Ga. L. Rev. 239 (1974).


Constitutionality of subsection (a) prior to 1988 amendment.

- Subsection (a) of O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18 as it existed prior to the 1988 amendment created a gender classification which did not rest upon "some ground of difference having a fair and substantial relation to the object of the legislation," and therefore violated equal protection of the laws. Stepperson, Inc. v. Long, 256 Ga. 838, 353 S.E.2d 461 (1987).

Strict liability for injury resulting from liquor sales is constitutional on the basis that the state enjoys a particularly broad police power as a result of the U.S. Const., amend. 21, repealing prohibition. Reeves v. Bridges, 248 Ga. 600, 284 S.E.2d 416 (1981).

Legislature did not intend to impose strict liability in enacting O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18. Reeves v. Bridges, 248 Ga. 600, 284 S.E.2d 416 (1981).

Cause of action.

- Parent is provided a right of action against any party who furnishes spiritous liquors to one's child without the parent's permission. Dodd v. Slater, 101 Ga. App. 362, 114 S.E.2d 170 (1960).

Cause of action under subsection (a) vested in parent.

- Subsection (b) of O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18 was amended to place the cause of action in "a parent" when the legislature enacted the Code of 1981, effective November 1, 1982, and the failure to amend subsection (a) in a similar manner was a mere oversight. Thus, although subsection (a) as it existed until the 1988 amendment was unconstitutional as written, the entire statute should not fall on account of the defect in a relatively unimportant part, and the action against one who furnished alcoholic beverages to an underage child for the child's use without the permission of the child's parent was vested in a parent, to be brought by either of them or jointly by both of them. Stepperson, Inc. v. Long, 256 Ga. 838, 353 S.E.2d 461 (1987).

Parent's participation in sting operation.

- When parents willingly participated in a sting operation in which the parents anticipated that a provider would attempt to serve alcohol to the parents' underage children, the parents could not recover damages against the provider under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18(a). Allowing the parents to recover in such a circumstance would be unreasonable and would not serve the purpose of the statute, which was to prevent the furnishing of alcoholic beverages to underage children in the absence of parental consent. Abreu v. Rainey, 293 Ga. App. 597, 667 S.E.2d 434 (2008).

Serving alcohol to teenager over age of majority.

- Trial court erroneously denied a motion to dismiss a personal injury action filed by two parents against two social hosts, arising out of the death of the parents' 20-year-old daughter, which alleged that the social hosts served the daughter alcohol, and the daughter died when the daughter drunkenly drove into a tree after leaving the social hosts' home, as the action was barred due to the fact that the daughter had already reached the age of majority at the time of the accident. Penny v. McBride, 282 Ga. App. 590, 639 S.E.2d 561 (2006), cert. denied, No. S07C0478, 2007 Ga. LEXIS 223 (Ga. 2007).

Consent of the minor to drink alcohol was of no consequence since the cause of action lay with the minor's parents. McNamee v. A.J.W., 238 Ga. App. 534, 519 S.E.2d 298 (1999).

O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40, which precludes recovery by a consumer against provider, did not apply in an action by parents for damages under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18. Eldridge v. Aronson, 221 Ga. App. 662, 472 S.E.2d 497 (1996).

"Custodial parent" construed.

- Parent with custody of a minor pursuant to a court order is the "custodial parent." Leach v. Braswell, 804 F. Supp. 1551 (S.D. Ga. 1992), aff'd, 8 F.3d 37 (11th Cir. 1993).

Summary judgment for lessor of store which sold beer to minor.

- Defendant oil company was entitled to summary judgment, since, although beer was sold to the plaintiff's minor son at a filling station/convenience store leased by the defendant, defendant had no control over the time, manner, and method of operating the store. Leach v. Brilad Oil Co., 753 F. Supp. 366 (S.D. Ga. 1991).

Summary judgment improperly granted to property owner and party guests.

- Trial court erred in granting summary judgment to a property owner and the party guests, as to a mother's claims that they provided alcohol to a minor, who later was killed in an auto accident, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18(a), as there was a triable issue of fact where the evidence indicated that the owner allowed the guests to bring kegs of beer to the party, at which most of the other guests were minors, and that the guests knowingly allowed the deceased minor to drink beer from the kegs; the mother was not precluded from recovering damages under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-6, as there was a triable issue of fact as to whether these acts were intentional. Mowell v. Marks, 277 Ga. App. 524, 627 S.E.2d 141 (2006).

Fact that the defendant did not personally attend the party at which alcoholic beverages were provided to the plaintiffs' underage son did not settle the question of whether the defendant "furnished" beverages within the meaning of O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18. Eldridge v. Aronson, 221 Ga. App. 662, 472 S.E.2d 497 (1996).

Damages recoverable.

- In a suit brought upon a right of action under this section, the plaintiff may recover both general and special damages. Wright v. Smith, 128 Ga. 432, 57 S.E. 684 (1907).

Damages recoverable under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18 by a parent may be limited to general and special damages suffered directly by the parent, as opposed to damages the parent may have to pay to a third person. Sutter v. Hutchings, 254 Ga. 194, 327 S.E.2d 716 (1985).

Damages under subsection (a) of O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18 are limited to vindictive damages authorized by O.C.G.A. § 51-12-6 because the legislature has declared, in O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40 (a), that the consumption of alcohol, rather than the furnishing of alcohol, is the proximate cause of any self-inflicted injury to an intoxicated minor. Leach v. Braswell, 804 F. Supp. 1551 (S.D. Ga. 1992), aff'd, 8 F.3d 37 (11th Cir. 1993).

Liability for injuries to consumer of alcohol.

- Provider of alcohol cannot be held liable to a consumer of alcohol for injuries sustained as a result of such consumption. Steedley v. Huntley's Jiffy Stores, Inc., 209 Ga. App. 23, 432 S.E.2d 625 (1993).

Legal and medical expenses.

- Parent of 19 year old son who lived with the parent had no right of action under subsection (a) of O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18 to recover the legal, medical, and other expenses which the parent incurred on the son's behalf. Burch v. Uokuni Int'l, Inc., 192 Ga. App. 861, 386 S.E.2d 889 (1989).

Discovery of defendant's worldly circumstances.

- In an action under subsection (a) O.C.G.A. § 51-1-18 by a parent for furnishing alcoholic beverages to the parent's underage child without the parent's consent, when the parent has prayed for general, special, O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5, and O.C.G.A. § 51-12-6 damages, and the parent has not yet made an election to forego all other damages in favor of § 51-12-6 damages, the trial court is correct in denying the parent's motion to compel discovery of defendant's worldly circumstances. If, however, the parent timely amends the parent's complaint to abandon all claims except one for § 51-12-6 damages, the parent will be entitled to discover the defendant's worldly circumstances. Stepperson, Inc. v. Long, 256 Ga. 838, 353 S.E.2d 461 (1987).

Cited in Edwards v. Monroe, 54 Ga. App. 791, 189 S.E. 419 (1936); Hosford v. Hosford, 58 Ga. App. 188, 198 S.E. 289 (1938); Dodd v. Slater, 101 Ga. App. 358, 114 S.E.2d 167 (1960); Keaton v. Kroger Co., 143 Ga. App. 23, 237 S.E.2d 443 (1977); Riverside Enters., Inc. v. Rahn, 171 Ga. App. 674, 320 S.E.2d 595 (1984); Spivey v. Sellers, 185 Ga. App. 241, 363 S.E.2d 856 (1987); Hansen v. Etheridge, 232 Ga. App. 408, 501 S.E.2d 517 (1998).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 45 Am. Jur. 2d, Intoxicating Liquors, § 220 et seq.


- 48 C.J.S., Intoxicating Liquors, §§ 488 et seq., 840, 841.


- Liability, under dramshop acts, of one who sells or furnishes liquor otherwise than in operation of regularly established liquor business, 8 A.L.R.3d 1412.

Criminal offense of selling liquor to a minor or permitting him to stay on licensed premises as affected by ignorance or mistake regarding his age, 12 A.L.R.3d 991.

Contributory negligence allegedly contributing to cause of injury as defense in Civil Damage Act proceeding, 64 A.L.R.3d 849.

Proof of causation of intoxication as a prerequisite to recovery under Civil Damage Act, 64 A.L.R.3d 882.

Civil Damage Act: liability of one who furnishes liquor to another for consumption by third parties, for injury caused by consumer, 64 A.L.R.3d 922.

Liability of state or municipality in tort action for damages arising out of sale of intoxicating liquor by state or municipally operated liquor store or establishment, 95 A.L.R.3d 1243.

Common-law right of action for damage sustained by plaintiff in consequence of sale or gift of intoxicating liquor or habit-forming drug to another, 97 A.L.R.3d 528; 62 A.L.R.4th 16.

Intoxicating liquors: employer's liability for furnishing or permitting liquor on social occasion, 51 A.L.R.4th 1048.

Social host's liability for injuries incurred by third parties as a result of intoxicated guest's negligence, 62 A.L.R.4th 16.

Liability of independent accountant to investors or shareholders, 48 A.L.R.5th 389.

Social host's liability for death or injuries incurred by person to whom alcohol was served, 54 A.L.R.5th 313.

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