A court ordered the insurance company contracted by Big Daddy’s Show Club to cover damage caused by a drunken man who was forced out of 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 had an argument and a strip club bouncer kicked him off 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 off. Soon after, he collided with a car occupied by members of the Ebert family, causing two young girls to fracture, cut and bleed in their father’s brains.
The family sued Big Daddy’s, claiming the company was responsible for the crash in part because they forced Spence to leave knowing he was intoxicated.
However, the club’s insurance company, Illinois Casualty Company, said it was under no obligation to cover the damage. Company policy said it excluded coverage for incidents in which bodily injury or property damage was caused by the club “causing or contributing to the intoxication of any person.”
The insurance company sought summary judgment, saying its policy made it clear that this type of incident was excluded from its coverage.
Howard Superior Court Judge Brant Parry agreed and ruled that the company was under no obligation to cover claims arising directly or indirectly from the incident.
“Without Mr. Spence being intoxicated, there would be no trial,” Parry said in his ruling. “The cause of the injuries sustained by the Eberts was William Spence driving a vehicle while intoxicated.”
The Eberts and Big Daddy appealed the decision, arguing that the insurance company was required to pay damages and that Parry was wrong to issue summary judgment.
The Indiana Court of Appeals accepted this week, saying the insurance company had to pay damages because the policy did not cover cases in which the client may have arrived at the club already drunk. .
“If Illinois Casualty wanted to exclude coverage for all claims resulting from intoxication in general or from intoxicated customers, then it would have drafted a contract that said so,” the court said.