Posted On: March 19, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Families Can Sue West Chicago Strip Club for Fatal Illinois Car Crash

The Illinois Supreme Court says that the families of April Simmons and John Chiariello can sue the Diamonds Gentleman’s Club and parent company On Stage Productions Inc. for the two car accident victims’ wrongful deaths. Chiariello, a St. Charles resident, and Simmons, who is from Yorkville, were killed in a 2006 drunk driving crash on Route 25 on January 4, 2006. Simmons was pregnant at the time and her unborn baby also died.

The drunk driver, Wayne resident John Homatas, was high and drunk when he drive away from the DuPage County strip club and crashed into Simmons’ SUV. Chiariello was riding in the car with him during the Illinois car accident.

Legal representatives for On Stage have argued that the company could not be held liable under the Dram Shop Act, which holds parties that serve alcohol liable for drunken patrons’ actions, because the strip club doesn’t serve alcohol.

However, the plaintiffs’ families argued that the club’s employees put Homatas in the driver’s seat of his Jeep even though he had thrown up in the strip club bathroom. Also, even though the club is a BYOB spot, the strip club provides glasses, ice, and mixers.

The Illinois Supreme Court is sending the Kane County wrongful death lawsuit back to a lower court so that the case can move forward. Homatas, now 29, is serving a 12-year prison term for his role in the fatal Illinois car accident.

Drunk Driving
Drunk driving can be deadly. Not only is it a motorist’s responsibility not to drive while drunk, but if workers at a club or the hosts of an event see that someone is drunk, they definitely should not help them get into the driver’s seat of any car.

Most people never intend to kill someone when they are drunk, but unfortunately, that is what can happen. Intentional or not, losing someone you love because a driver was drunk or under the influence of drugs is a devastating experience.

Illinois Supreme Court rules families can sue in fatal crash, The Chronicle, March 19, 2010

Court says strip club can be sued in fatal Route 25 crash, SuburbanChicagoNews, March 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Read the Illinois Supreme Court's Ruling (PDF)

I(235 ILCS 5/) Liquor Control Act of 1934, Illinois General Assembly

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