A court has ordered the insurance company contracted by Big Daddy’s Show Club to cover damages caused by an intoxicated man who was forced to leave the strip club before crashing and injuring a family on Davis Road.
On July 5, 2015, William Spence was drinking at Big Daddy’s and was visibly intoxicated, according to court records. Spence got into an altercation, and a bouncer at the strip club removed him from the premises.
In the parking lot, the bouncer insisted that Spence leave, and threatened violence if he didn’t.
Spence got into his truck and drove away. Shortly afterward, he struck a car occupied by members of the Ebert family, causing two young girls to suffer broken bones, cuts and bleeding in the brain of their father.
The family sued Big Daddy’s, asserting the business was liable for the crash in part because it forced Spence to leave knowing he was intoxicated.
However, the club’s insurance company, Illinois Casualty Company, said it wasn’t liable to cover damages. The company’s policy stated it excluded covering incidents in which bodily injury or property damage was caused due to the club “causing or contributing to the intoxication of any person.”
The insurance company filed for summary judgement, saying their policy clearly stated that kind of incident was excluded from their coverage.
Howard Superior Court Judge Brant Parry agreed and ruled the company wasn’t liable to cover claims arising directly or indirectly from the incident.
“Without Mr. Spence being intoxicated, there would be no lawsuit,” Parry said in his ruling. “The cause of the injuries suffered by the Eberts was William Spence operating a vehicle while intoxicated.”
The Eberts and Big Daddy’s appealed the decision, arguing the insurance company was liable to pay for damages and Parry was wrong to issue a summary judgement.
The Indiana Court of Appeals this week agreed, saying the insurance company had to pay for damages because the policy didn’t cover instances in which the patron may have arrived at the club already intoxicated.
“If Illinois Casualty wished to exclude coverage for any and all claims arising from intoxication generally or from intoxicated patrons, then it would have drafted a contract that said so,” the court said.