Columbia sports bar wants dram shop suit dismissed

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 9, 2008, 5:00am

A sports bar in Columbia wants a dram shop suit that seeks $200,000 in damages filed against them to be dismissed.

Represented by Paul Waller of Belleville, Top Shooters claims a suit filed by John Littlefield and Stacy Miller contains multiple claims for multiple parties in the same count.

Top Shooters filed its motion to dismiss on Oct. 2.

Littlefield filed suit against Top Shooters alleging he sustained injuries in an auto accident while he was a passenger in a car driven by co-defendant Cecelia Krone, who was drinking at the bar prior to the accident.

Littlefield claims he was of legal drinking age, but Krone was not yet 21-years-old at the time of the accident on Sept. 16, 2007.

He claims Krone became intoxicated from the beverages she was served while at Top Shooters on Sept. 15 and 16, 2007.

Littlefield claims he fell asleep and passed out at the bar sometime throughout the night causing bartenders at Top Shooters to carry and assist him to Krone's vehicle, but failed to restrain him with a seatbelt.

According to the complaint, Krone began driving on Interstate 255 and while trying to merge onto Interstate 270 west, lost control of her vehicle, causing it to overturn multiple times.

Littlefield claims he was ejected from the vehicle and that Krone's blood alcohol content was above the legal limit for operating a vehicle.

Littlefield claims he sustained serious, painful, disabling and permanent injuries to his head, brain and body, including a fractured skull, facial fractures, a fractured right femur, a dislocated left kneecap, paralysis and a closed head injury.

He also claims he has been confined to a wheelchair and his speech has been altered.

Miller, Littlefield's mother, claims she sustained damages, including injury to her property, loss of society and loss of means of support.

Littlefield and Miller claim Top Shooter had a duty to protect Littlefield and that the bar was negligent because it cast Littlefield into the hands of an individual that was extremely intoxicated and incapable of operating a motor vehicle, failed to protect Littlefield from Krone's criminal activity of driving while intoxicated, failed to restrain Littlefield with a seatbelt and provide alternative transportation for Littlefield.

Top Shooters argues the count against them filed under the Illinois Liquor Control Act should be dismissed because section 2-603 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure states every cause of action which a separate recovery might be had should be in a separate count.

In addition, Top Shooters argues each cause of action needs to be separately pleaded, designated and numbered and divided into paragraphs numbered consecutively with each paragraph alleging a separate allegation.

In addition to the motion to dismiss, Top Shooters filed their affirmative defense alleging Littlefield was guilty of complicity in the intoxication of Krone.

Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder has yet to set a hearing date on the motion to dismiss.

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