Rogers v. Imeri

A 2009 collision on a rural Effingham County highway resulted in the death of a man, 18 years old and not intoxicated. The other driver was a 60-year-old man who was intoxicated and had been drinking in Johnny’s Bar and Grill. The decedent’s parents, who had already obtained $106,550 in insurance recoveries, sued under the Dramshop Act, which has a statutory cap on recovery of $130,338.51. The bar owner had insurance for that amount, but his insurer became insolvent and was liquidated. The Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund assumed his defense. The Fund statute provides that the Fund’s obligation shall be reduced by a plaintiff’s other insurance recoveries. The plaintiffs argued that, if the jury award were far in excess of the statutory cap, the setoff could first be applied to the award, and the award could then be brought down to allow them to recover the full amount of the statutory cap itself. The appellate court ruled that the reduction should be applied to the jury’s verdict. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. The Fund is liable only up $130,338.51. The setoff for insurance proceeds should be applied against that maximum liability. The availability of a jury trial is not relevant and the amount of a verdict cannot expand the Fund’s obligation. View "Rogers v. Imeri" on Justia Law