Grocery store chain dismissed from passenger’s dram shop lawsuit

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jan 3, 2014


A grocery chain accused in a man’s lawsuit claiming he was injured after his friend purchased and drank alcohol from Shop ‘n Save, resulting in a car wreck, has been dismissed from the case.

On Nov. 22, Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder granted defendant Supervalu Inc.’s motion to dismiss without prejudice.

According to the lawsuit filed in August, 2013, Jalen Smith claims he was riding in a vehicle with Nikolas Becoat on Aug. 25, 2012, when Becoat caused a collision. Just before the incident, Becoat consumed alcohol he purchased from defendant Shop ‘n Save, the suit claims. Smith blames the grocery store for selling the alcohol to Becoat.

Defendant Shop ‘n Save Warehouse Foods had filed an amended answer on Nov. 25 denying the allegations and arguing that the plaintiff’s alleged injuries were caused by third parties.

It also claimed the plaintiff is barred from recovery because he was aware of Becoat’s intoxication and negligence and even “actively contributed to, participated in or procured the intoxication.”

“Plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risk of getting in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver,” the answer stated.

Shop ‘n Save, represented by Beth C. Boggs of Boggs, Avellino, Lach & Boggs in St. Louis, also filed a motion to compel on Dec. 12. It claims it served interrogatories and a request for production on Oct. 7, 2013, but has received no response.

Boggs filed the motion to dismiss on behalf of Supervalu claiming the defendant is a parent company of the other defendants and did not sell any alcohol to Becoat. Had there been any sale of alcohol, she states that employees of Shop ‘N Save would have been involved.

However, she continues to argue that they remaining defendants also cannot be held responsible.

Valcour Development Company is also named a defendant.

Smith seeks a judgment of more than $68,000.

Crowder scheduled a motion hearing for Jan. 24 at 9 a.m.

Michael P. Glisson of Williamson, Webster, Falb & Glisson in Alton represents the plaintiff.

James A. Harfst of Clayton represents Valcour Development Company.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-1474

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