Mom Who Allowed Underage Drinking At Lake Forest Party Pays Millions In Civil Suit

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$2.5 Million Paid to Injured Young Man in Partial Settlement

The growing trend in society is to hold parents accountable when serious injury or death results from otherwise preventable underage drinking

Parents who provide a safe-haven for underage drinkers should take note of the $2.5 million partial settlement approved by Judge Christopher Starck in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Lake County on February 11, 2009.

Plaintiff lawyers Patrick A. Salvi and Patrick A. Salvi II of Salvi Schostok & Pritchard P.C. alleged that Lauralee Pfeifer of Lake Forest (IL) allowed a chain of events to occur that ultimately led to a car accident that forever changed the life of Lake Forest teenager, George Baldwin, now 22-years-old.

During the late afternoon of November 19, 2006, Baldwin's lawyers claimed that Lauralee Pfeifer had a duty to supervise the activities occurring in her home after her daughters, ages 16 and 17, invited teenage friends over for a party. Despite numerous opportunities to step in and stop the beer drinking in an upstairs bedroom, Mrs. Pfeifer did nothing to prevent the teenagers' intoxication, the plaintiff's lawyers alleged.

Two of the teens who were asked to leave the party were William Klairmont and George Baldwin, then ages 18 and 19, respectively, according to the plaintiff's attorneys. While traveling north on Route 43 in Lake Bluff, William lost control of the vehicle he was driving--crashing into a utility box. The accident paralyzed the vehicle's passenger, George, from the chest down.

"The growing trend in society is to hold parents accountable when serious injury or death results from otherwise preventable underage drinking," said Patrick Salvi II. "As one can see with this settlement, the consequences for parents can be civil liability. The case was brought under a relatively new Illinois law entitled, 'Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act' which allows for severe civil penalties for serving alcohol to minors under 18-years-old."

"The $2.5 million payment represents the entire amount of Lauralee Pfeifer's homeowner's insurance. George could have insisted on pursuing Mrs. Pfeifer's assets beyond her insurance limit but decided against it," Salvi added.

The case is George Baldwin IV, Plaintiff vs. Lauralee Pfeifer, Brandt Pfeifer, Defendants (Law Division of the Circuit Court of Lake County; No. 07 L 105).

For more information on the Baldwin case, Patrick A. Salvi or the Law Firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., please contact Christina Solomon at 312-372-1227.

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