Illinois Man Successfully Sues Homeowner After He Secretly Drank Beer at House and Then Had Car Accident

beerA very interesting torts case has settled in Lake Forest, Illinois where George Baldwin, 22, has been given a $2.5 million settlement after he went to a party at the house of Lauralee Pfeifer, who had two high school friends of Baldwin. Baldwin and a friend than drank beer in their girl’s bedroom. He was paralyzed when he and a drunk friend (who was driving) crashed their car. It is a very rare case of a homeowner being successfully sued by someone other than a a third party victim. He is also suing his former friend who drove the car.

In 2006, Baldwin was 19 and his friend William Klairmont, was 18 . What is most notable is that Pfeifer did not buy the alcohol for the teens or know they were drinking in her home. Yet, Baldwin insists that she should have been more closely monitored his drinking and that of his friend.

He is also suing his former friend Klairmont.

Dram shop cases are ordinarily brought against bars by third parties injured by “over-served” customers. Many states effectively bar the drunks themselves from such lawsuits.

The use of such theories of vicarious liability against homeowners is quite rare. I have never seen a case like this one where a homeowner is held liable without any knowledge or role in the drinking. There is also Baldwin’s own misconduct. He was 19 years old at the time and thus legally an adult. I am confused by the decision to settle the case given his adult status.

For the full story, click here.

10 thoughts on “Illinois Man Successfully Sues Homeowner After He Secretly Drank Beer at House and Then Had Car Accident

  1. I don’t see how this can withstand appeal. Other than the situs, there’s no causal connection, no attractive nuisance, no reasonable foresight issue . . . this is a garbage ruling. Sure, the driver case has merit, but this is the equivalent of saying, “I’m suing because while I was hiding behind your bushes shooting heroin I bought elsewhere, I overdosed.” What a crap ruling. Are you sure this judge isn’t from Texas?

  2. Buddha:

    No appeal likely. Seems it was a voluntary settlement. And we wonder why our financial institutions are in disarray? Which Ivy Leaguer approved this payment?

  3. mespo,

    No doubt. Were I the Pfeifer’s attorney, I’d be worried about a malpractice suit. Most likely he advocated settlement out of fear they wouldn’t be able to pay him through appeal, because not to fight this through appeal quite frankly makes no sense.

  4. The pattern repeats. Baldwin’s parents have successfully taught him not to take responsibility for his choices. What motivated the Insurance company to settle?

  5. Is this guy related to the dumbass that got ran over by a train and then sued?

    Is he also going to sue the beer company? What about the people that built the home? Isn’t it their fault too somehow? Because I bet they all came over, shoved a tube down his throat and forced him to drink beer all night long!! Heck, they proably even held a gun to the guy’s head as well!!

    Yet another excellent example of people not taking responsibilty for their own stupid choices they make.

  6. The judge needs to resign, get impeached, or run out of town. Productive people have had enough of their land piracy operation. The entire profession is a criminal cult enterprise that must be stopped, at any cost.

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