Bradshaw v. Rawlings, Court Case

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Full Title:

Bradshaw v. Rawlings, 612 F.2d 135


The centerpiece of Bradshaw’s argument is that beer-drinking by underage college students, in itself, creates the special relationship on which to predicate liability and, furthermore, that the college has both the opportunity and the means of exercising control over beer drinking by students at an off campus gathering. These contentions miss the mark, however, because they blur the distinction between establishing the existence of a duty and proving the breach thereof. Bradshaw does not argue that beer drinking is generally regarded as a harm-producing act, for it cannot be seriously controverted that a goodly number of citizens indulge in this activity. Our national public policy, insofar as it is reflected by industry standards or by government regulation of certain types of radio-television advertising, permits advertising of beer at all times of the day and night even though Congress has banned advertisement of cigarettes and the broadcasting industry has agreed to ban the advertisement of liquor. What we know as men and women we must not forget as judges, and this panel of judges is able to bear witness to the fact that beer drinking by college students is a common experience. That this is true is not to suggest that reality always comports with state law and college rules. It does not. But the Pennsylvania law that prohibits sales to, and purchases by, persons under twenty-one years of age, is certainly not a universal practice in other countries, nor even the general rule in North America. Moreover in New Jersey, the bordering state from which the majority of Delaware Valley College students come, App. at 744a-746a, the legal drinking age is eighteen. Under these circumstances, we think it would be placing an impossible burden on the college to impose a duty in this case.

Source Citation:

Bradshaw v. Rawlings. 1979. 612 F. 2d 135 (3d Cir. 1979).

Cite this page:

N/A. 1979. "Bradshaw v. Rawlings, Court Case." History of Higher Education.