The January 2006 accident claimed the life of a pregnant woman, her unborn child and a patron of the club. Diamonds Gentlemen’s Club paid $800,000 to the husband of the 27-year-old woman, who was eight-months pregnant when her vehicle was struck head-on by an SUV near South Elgin.
The rest of the settlement went to the relatives of a 25-year-old St. Charles man who was a passenger in the at-fault vehicle, according to court records. The lawsuit alleged that the driver and passenger had gotten drunk in the club and were ejected by bouncers after the driver was found vomiting in the bathroom. The bouncers put the driver in his car before he drove off and slammed into the victim’s car about 15 minutes later on Illinois Highway 25.
The club does not serve liquor, but patrons are allowed to bring their own. The club argued it was not responsible but the Illinois Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that it bore some responsibility for the accident.
Seeking damages against a business can have a significant impact on a case: In this case, the $1 million settlement was the maximum available under the club’s liability policy; the maximum coverage of an auto insurance policy is frequently less than $100,000.
The driver was found guilty in 2007 of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide and is serving a 12-year-prison sentence.
The victim’s family was represented by attorney Robert Speers of Aurora.