The opinion of the court was delivered by: BECHTLE
In the above-captioned actions, consolidated for trial purposes, plaintiffs seek to recover damages resulting from an automobile accident in which Monica Buckley was killed and Anne Fassett sustained serious injuries. Jurisdiction is based on diversity.
On September 17, 1985, the court entered Orders concerning numerous motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment. The following sets forth the court's reasoning for so ordering.
In considering either a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment, the court must construe all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Adickes v. S. H. Kress & Company, 398 U.S. 144, 157, 26 L. Ed. 2d 142, 90 S. Ct. 1598 (1970); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 1683 (1974). A motion to dismiss should not be granted unless "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957). Summary judgment is proper only when the record clearly establishes that no genuine issue of material fact remains to be tried and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Poller v. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 368 U.S. 464, 467, 7 L. Ed. 2d 458, 82 S. Ct. 486 (1962); Ely v. Hall's Motor Transit Co., 590 F.2d 62, 66 (3d Cir. 1978).
Based on these standards, the facts in this case are as follows:
On the evening of September 25 and the morning of September 26, 1982, Monica T. Buckley, Anne Fassett and Corbin S. Evans attended a party organized by members of the Villanova University chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon ("DKE-Vill"). DKE-Vill members advertised the party around the Villanova Campus; sold tickets; bought liquor and beer for the party; brought in a portable bar and punch dispenser; arranged for a stereo music system; and served as bartenders, doormen and on clean-up crews. The party was held at a private home on Wynnewood Road in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which premises were leased by four Villanova students -- Christopher Troy, Bruce Turgiss, Kevin Zacchea and Michael Bacha. Three of the tenants, Turgis, Troy and Zacchea, were members of DKE-Vill. Bacha was not a member of the fraternity. The consent of the four tenants was obtained to hold the party at the premises in exchange for their free admission to the party. Alcoholic beverages were served to the guests at the party, the majority of whom were under twenty-one years of age.
Early on the morning of September 26, 1982, Monica Buckley, Anne Fassett and Corbin Evans departed the party in a vehicle driven by Corbin Evans. Mr. Evans, a minor at the time of the party, admittedly consumed intoxicating beverages before departing the party. After driving only a short distance, Mr. Evans' vehicle collided with a pick-up truck driven by Nicholas D'Alessandro. Tragically, Monica Buckley was killed and Anne Fassett suffered severe personal injuries.
As a result of this accident, plaintiff Anne Fassett ("Fassett") instituted two lawsuits. The first action was brought in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against, among others, Corbin Evans and Nicholas D'Alessandro.
The case went to verdict against Corbin Evans alone
in the amount of approximately $5,100,000.00. Fassett's second action is the federal lawsuit presently before this court. In this matter, Fassett has brought suit against the four lessees of the premises where the party was held (Christopher Troy, Bruce Turgiss, Kevin Zacchea, and Michael Bacha), Christopher Poch, the president of the Villanova Chapter of DKE, the National Chapter of DKE ("DKE-New York") and DKE-Vill.
The material allegations of Fassett's second amended complaint are as follows:
49. On or about the evening of September 25 and the morning of September 26, 1983, Defendants, and each of them, sponsored, organized, held, operated, directed, managed and otherwise conducted a party at which alcoholic beverages were served. Said party was held at the premises located at 1825 Wynnewood Road in Philadelphia, PA.
50. At this party, Defendants, and each of them, caused to be served to one Corbin Evans, a minor, alcoholic beverages of an undisclosed amount to the point that Evans was under the influence of alcohol.
51. Evans, thereafter, drove a 1975 Fiat on Wynnewood Road in Philadelphia, PA, while Plaintiff, Anne Fassett, was a passenger of the 1975 Fiat.
52. As a result of Defendants' conduct, above described, Evans was involved in an accident.
60. Defendants' negligence consists of serving alcoholic beverages and intoxicants to the minor, Corbin Evans.
As a result of the aforementioned automobile accident, John L. Buckley, Jr., administrator of the estate of Monica Buckley ("Buckley"), similarly instituted two lawsuits. The first action was brought in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against, among others, Corbin Evans and Nicholas D'Alessandro.
On May 24, 1985 the parties settled this matter, executing a Joint Tortfeasor Release for the sole consideration of $275,000.00. Buckley's second action is the federal lawsuit presently before this court. In this matter, Buckley has brought suit against three of the lessees of the premises where the party was held (Christopher Troy, Bruce Turgiss, and Kevin Zacchea),
Christopher Poch, Daniel Hoffend, the treasurer of DKE-Vill and DKE-New York.
The material allegations of Buckley's amended complaint are as follows:
11. On or about September 26, 1982, any or all of the defendants herein both individually and/or in their capacity as agents, servants, employees and/or representative officers of Delta Kappa Epsilon of New York, unlawfully agreed and conspired among themselves to hold a party at 1825 Wynnewood Road, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, at which party they would provide in a negligent manner, alcoholic beverages to minors.
12. On or about September 25 or 26, 1982, and for a long time prior thereto, the aforementioned premises and fraternity house was managed, operated, supervised, controlled and/or maintained either jointly and/or severably by the defendants, Christopher L. Troy, Bruce Turgiss, Christopher F. Poch, Daniel Hoffend, Kevin Zacchea and/or Delta Kappa Epsilon of New York.
13. All of the defendants individually, and/or in conspiracy with each other and in concert with each other, and/or in an agency relationship and or in concert with Delta Kappa Epsilon of New York were careless and negligent in that they:
a) Negligently provided alcoholic beverages to a minor' who operated a car in which Plaintiff s decedent was a passenger, in such a manner that it was involved in at vehicular' collision resulting in Plaintiff s decedent s death;
b) Negligently providing a minor with alcoholic beverages to the point where he became intoxicated and as a driver, was in an accident, resulting in Plaintiff s Decedent s death;
c) The defendants Troy, Turgiss and Zacchea, being possessors of and having control over the land where the party was held at their house, were negligent, breaching a duty owed to Plaintiff s decedent as an invitee and also to the driver of the car in which Plaintiff s decedent was a passenger, who was also an invitee at the party;
d) Violations of the statutes of the Commonwealth pertaining to the purchasing, selling or providing of alcoholic beverages to minors, one of whom was the driver of the car Plaintiff's decedent was in;
e) Violation of the Liquor Code (47 P.S. § 4-493(1)), making it a violation to provide alcoholic beverages to any person visibly intoxicated;
g) Being otherwise careless and negligent under the circumstances.
14. As a result of all of the defendant's negligence individually and/or in concert and agreement with each other, and/or in their capacity as agents, servants, employees and/or representative officers of Delta Kappa Epsilon of New York, one of the minors who had been served alcoholic beverages to the point of intoxication at the 1825 Wynnewood Road party was involved in a vehicular collision with Plaintiff s decedent as his passenger, as a result of which Plaintiff s decedent sustained injuries resulting in her death.
On May 13, 1985, this court consolidated the two actions for trial purposes. In the interim, third-party complaints were filed in both actions against all the members of DKE-Vill at the time of the party, in their individual capacity, and against Corbin Evans and Nicholas D'Alessandro, the drivers of the vehicles involved in the accident.
An extensive period of discovery ensued during which the court was inundated with motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment.
At a hearing held on May 24, 1985, in order to help the court decide these motions, the court ordered that each plaintiff and each third-party plaintiff submit detailed offers of proof stating the factual basis of their claims against those defendants ...