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01/29/87 Deborah A. Seibring, As v. Parcell's Incorporated

January 29, 1987

SEIBRING, DECEASED, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS

v.

PARCELL'S INCORPORATED, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE (THOMAS BORBELI, D/B/A THE PAXTON BOWL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS)



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

DEBORAH A. SEIBRING, as Adm'r of the Estate of Rodney

503 N.E.2d 1126, 151 Ill. App. 3d 1003, 105 Ill. Dec. 120 1987.IL.80

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Ford County; the Hon. William M. Dalton, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE SPITZ delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN and LUND, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SPITZ

On July 22, 1985, plaintiffs Deborah A. Seibring (Deborah) and Jennifer Seibring (Jennifer) filed a dramshop action against Parcell's Incorporated (Parcell's), among other defendants. Their complaint alleged that the decedent became intoxicated and was involved in a fatal traffic accident as a result of being served alcohol at a drinking establishment owned by Parcell's. The plaintiffs requested damages for loss of support which the decedent had been providing them.

On September 12, 1985, section 6 -- 21 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 was amended through insertion of the following paragraph:

"Nothing in this Act shall be construed to confer a cause of action for injuries to the person or property of the intoxicated person himself, nor shall anything in this Act be construed to confer a cause of action for loss of means of support on the intoxicated person himself or on any person claiming to be supported by such intoxicated person." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 43, par. 135.)

Parcell's filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs' first-amended complaint on January 21, 1986, and the circuit court allowed this motion per an order entered May 29, 1986. The stated basis for the court's decision was that the September 12, 1985, amendment to the Liquor Control Act of 1934 retroactively barred the plaintiffs' cause of action against Parcell's, which the court deemed a statutorily created special remedy. The court also noted that nothing had occurred which would have caused the plaintiffs' rights with regard to their asserted cause of action against Parcell's to vest. The circuit court subsequently entered a finding that there was no just reason for delaying enforcement or appeal of its May 29, 1986, order (103 Ill. 2d R. 304(a)), and the plaintiffs perfected an appeal from that order.

In their briefs, the parties present extensive arguments concerning whether the September 12, 1985, amendment of section 6-21 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 43, par. 135) should be applied retroactively to bar plaintiffs' asserted cause of action against Parcell's. However, the same legislature which enacted the September 12, 1985, amendment enacted the following further amendment of section 6-21, which became effective September 12, 1986:

"In conformance with the rule of statutory construction enunciated in the general Illinois saving provision in Section 4 of AN ACT to revise the law in relation to the construction of the statutes', approved March 5, 1874, as amended, no amendment of this Section purporting to abolish or having the effect of abolishing a cause of action shall be applied to invalidate a cause of action accruing before its effective date, irrespective of whether the amendment was passed before or after the effective date of this Amendatory Act of 1986." (Pub. Act. 84-1381, eff. Sept. 12, 1986, (amending Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 43, par. 135); 8 Ill. Leg. Service 456 (West 1986).)

The legislative history relative to this amendment includes the following statement by Representative Countryman concerning its meaning:

"Because of the problems that we had last year with House Bill 737 and certain trial Judges inadvertently construing that that abolished a cause of action because the Dram Shop Act is statutory in nature, this clarifies so there is no doubt that it was the intention of this Legislature at that time and it's the intention now with the Amendment of the Dram Shop Act not to abolish any cause of action that may have been effective prior to the effective date of this Bill. And with that, we have stated the intention of this Body with regard to House Bill 737 and with regard to Senate Bill 2165, not ...


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