Oz, Big Daddy's, Pop's named in dram shop suit

By Ann Knef | Jul 1, 2008

A 55-count dram shop lawsuit was filed by a St. Clair County woman and her four adult children over an auto accident that occurred last year in Smithton.

Patricia Schanz claims she suffered injuries to her neck, back, head, left shoulder and right arm after the vehicle she was operating was struck by a vehicle driven by Aaron Abeyta on June 9, 2007, near the intersection of Franklin and Illinois Route 159.

The complaint, filed June 6 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, seeks in excess of $50,000 per count against Pop's Saloon, The Oz Nightclub, Big Daddy's Disco Diner and its owner Scott Schmelzel over an accident caused by Aaron Abeyta who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol served by the defendants.

"That on or about June 9, 2007, following the sale, gift, and or service of alcoholic beverages to Aaron Abeyta, and while Aaron Abeyta was under the influence of said intoxicating beverages, the vehicle he was operating struck the vehicle being operated by the Plaintiff...," the complaint states.

Abeyta is not named in the suit.

Schanz claims she has incurred medical expenses and suffered great pain and mental anguish.

"[T]he Plaintiff has missed numerous working days and opportunities and in the future will miss numerous working days and opportunities," the complaint states.

Schanz's adult children William Bruno, Donna LaPorte, Nancy Becker and Darin Bruno are co-plaintiffs in the suit seeking damages for loss of support and society including the benefits of love, affection, care, attention, companionship, guidance and protection.

At 55 counts, the suit seeks to recover $2.75 million in damages.

The plaintiffs are represented by Steven E. Katzman of Katzman & Associates of Belleville.

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