The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge
This matter comes before the Court on the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant CB Sports Bar, Inc., d/b/a Jerzey's [hereinafter "Jerzey's" or "the bar"] (Doc. 110). Plaintiff Loretta Reynolds has responded to the motion (Doc. 117), and defendant Jerzey's has further replied to plaintiff's response (Doc. 118).
I. Standard for Summary Judgment
Summary judgment is appropriate where "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). The reviewing court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir. 2008). Where the moving party fails to meet its strict burden of proof, a court cannot enter summary judgment for the moving party even if the opposing party fails to present relevant evidence in response to the motion. Cooper v. Lane, 969 F.2d 368, 371 (7th Cir. 1992).
In responding to a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in the pleadings but must present specific facts to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Johnson v. City of Fort Wayne, 91 F.3d 922, 931 (7th Cir. 1996). A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Michas v. Health Cost Controls of Ill., Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir. 2000). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if "a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the [nonmoving party] on the evidence presented." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252; accord Michas, 209 F.3d at 692.
Viewing all the evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, the Court finds the admissible evidence establishes the following relevant facts.
Plaintiff Reynolds visited Jerzey's, located at 950 Talon Drive, O'Fallon, Illinois, on the night of October 26, 2005. Reynolds was visiting from Oklahoma and was staying at a nearby hotel.
Upon attempting to leave the bar that night after consuming approximately two beers, Reynolds discovered that her vehicle would not start. She reentered the bar and asked a bartender for a phonebook in order to call a cab. The bartender refused to give Reynolds a phonebook and informed Reynolds that she could not get a cab at the bar. Another bartender confirmed for Reynolds that cabs do not service the bar's location and told Reynolds that she would have to get a ride with someone at the bar. The bar's policy and standard practice, however, was to provide a phonebook or to call a cab for patrons in need of such services. Further, employees of the bar regularly assisted patrons with getting cabs, and the number of a local cab company was on the bouncer's stand near the front door of the bar.
Reynolds sat at the bar for a short time before being approached by defendant Brenda L. Russell, who offered Reynolds a ride. Reynolds saw that Russell had come to the bar with her boyfriend Casey Carson. Unsure if she could trust Russell or Carson, Reynolds asked the bartender if he knew them. The bartender responded that Russell and Carson were his friends and fine people, that they came there all the time, and that Reynolds should have no worries riding with them.
After meeting the couple, Reynolds continued to sit at the bar where Russell and Carson bought Reynolds several drinks. Moments later, Reynolds began to feel strange as if she had "a drug in [her] system of some sort." She refused any more to drink from the bartender, Carson, or Russell. During this time, Carson and Russell spoke to various people in the bar. Carson spent time talking to the bartender privately, as well as manager Bobby Kries, who knew Carson as a frequent customer of the bar.
On the early morning of October 27, 2005, Reynolds, Russell, and Carson made their way out of the bar to Carson's vehicle. On the way out, Kries saw Reynolds stumbling and approached Carson and Russell to make sure Reynolds was getting a ride with them. As the three individuals drove away from the bar, Reynolds continued to feel like she was "walking on a cloud or something." When Carson began to drive in the opposite direction of Reynolds' hotel and Carson and Russell began to talk about sexual acts, Reynolds became worried and, in an attempt to get out of the situation, asked Carson to stop at a convenience store.
Russell and Carson were "swingers" (i.e. they like to engage in group sex), but neither Russell nor Carson had talked to Reynolds about making plans for sexual relations or "swinging" while at the bar that night. Carson and Russell had brought individuals back to their apartment for consensual sexual relations in the past, and on at least one occasion they picked up a single female for consensual sexual relations. These occurrences were typically not planned in advance, and Russell was unaware of any advanced plans to pick up someone at the bar the night of the incident in question.
While Russell and Carson were inside the convenience store, Reynolds left the vehicle and ran to hide in nearby grass. After some time passed, Reynolds resurfaced from the grassy area to find that Russell and Carson had left. At about 3:50 a.m., while Reynolds was trying to find her way back to her hotel, she wandered onto ...