Grocery store defendants deny liability for alcohol-related accident; Passenger assumed risk of intoxicated driver, answer says

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Oct 17, 2013

Shop 'n Save


Grocery store defendants are denying allegations made by an auto passenger who claims injuries after his driver purchased and drank alcohol, then got into an accident.

Defense attorney Beth Boggs of Boggs, Avellino, Lach & Boggs in St. Louis on Oct. 3 denied the plaintiff's claims on behalf of Supervalu, Inc, Shop ‘N’ Save Warehouse Foods, Inc. and Shop ‘n Save.

“Plaintiff’s damages or injuries, if any, were proximately caused by the actions of plaintiff to the extent that plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risk of getting in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver,” Boggs states.

According to the Madison County suit filed in August, 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. Smith blames the grocery store for selling the alcohol to Becoat.

Boggs argues in the answer that any injuries or damages to the plaintiff are caused by the plaintiff’s actions and the actions of third parties.

She also filed a motion to dismiss.

Boggs claims Supervalu should be dismissed because it is a parent company of the others and did not sell any alcohol to Becoat. Had there been any sale of alcohol, she states that employees of Shop ‘n Save Warehouse Foods would have been involved. However, she argues they still cannot be held responsible.

“No allegations have been made which allow for piercing of the corporate veil,” Boggs wrote. “Shop ‘n Save is simply a d/b/a of Shop ‘n Save Warehouse Foods, Inc. A d/b/a has no separate legal existence. Therefore, Shop ‘n Save is not a proper defendant in this action.”

Co-defendant Valcour Development Company filed an answer through its attorney James A. Harfst of the Law Offices of James A. Harfst in Clayton, Mo., on Sept. 26 denying allegations.

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

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder is presiding.

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

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-1474

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