Kuahiwinui v. Zelo’s Inc.Annotate this Case
he Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) reversing the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment to Defendant in this dram shop action, holding that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the decedent's contributory negligence exceeded the negligence of Defendant.
Plaintiffs asserted a dram shop claim on behalf of their son, who died while riding as a passenger in a vehicle driven by their son's intoxicated cousin, against Defendant, who served the decedent and his cousin alcohol. The circuit court granted summary judgment to Defendant, concluding that because the decedent was also intoxicated at the time of the accident he was not an "innocent third party" with standing to bring a dram shop claim. The ICA reversed, concluding that genuine issues of material fact existed as to the complicity defense and whether the decedent fell within the protected class of innocent third parties entitled to bring a dram shop cause of action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the complicity defense is inconsistent with application of the contributory negligence defense; and (2) there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the decedent engaged in conduct that was more negligent than that of Defendant's.