The Klest Law Firm scored a noteworthy triumph for victims of drunk driving accidents in Illinois earlier this year when the First District Appellate Court reversed a trial court ruling that had dismissed a wrongful death claim. The trial judge had determined that the Illinois Dram Shop Act preempted all alcohol related liability on summary judgment. The case itself, Hicks v. Korean Airlines, involved a Chicago car accident victim that was killed by a drunk driver leaving a work sponsored event. An investigation into the facts surrounding the tragedy indicated that the intoxicated driver had attended a Korean Airlines work function that may or may not have been a Korean Airlines promotional event. Furthermore, it was uncovered that the consumption of large amounts alcohol at the event may have been not only culturally accepted but even somewhat compulsory for employment.
The complaint contained a count alleging negligence against Korean Airlines under a theory of respondeat superior. In other words, the negligence count was based on the allegation that the at-fault intoxicated driver was within the scope of employment at the time of, and leading up to, the fatal crash. The First District Appellate Court reversed the trial court determining that whether the allegedly intoxicated driver was within the scope of her employment was a question of fact to be determined by a jury. In doing so, the First District rejected the idea that the Illinois Dram Shop Act preempts all alcohol related liability.
The decision is a significant victory for those injured by intoxicated individuals in Illinois. The attorneys at the Klest Law Firm were able to take a case that many other lawyers had rejected and turn it into a success for accident victims throughout the State of Illinois.