In June of 2015, 25-year-old Chastin Pawson and a friend were patrons at Q Bar in Plano, which was supposed to close at 2 a.m. Bar staff continued to serve them alcohol until 3:45 a.m., well beyond the 20-minute grace period allowed for removing patrons. At 3:45 a.m., a Q Bar server followed Pawson and the vehicle’s driver, who had a blood alcohol content of .209, to make sure they arrived home safely. The vehicle crashed, and Pawson was killed.
“This was a challenging case,” said Nick Cronauer, lead trial attorney for Pawson’s family. “The trial was delayed for over two years due to Covid. Since Chastin was intoxicated, even though he wasn’t driving, the jury could have blamed him for the incident if the case wasn’t presented correctly. After a five-day trial, we won a unanimous verdict against Q Bar and its landlord for $4 million, a record for an auto fatality in DeKalb County. This case was covered under ‘Dram Shop’ laws, which were established to render an establishment that sells liquor liable for harmful acts by its intoxicated customers when the business acts negligently in serving the intoxicated customer alcohol and that customer causes harm to a third party.”
According to Cronauer, civil justice only allows for the awarding of money, because money is a valued tangible asset. “Death is an intangible loss, but we need to make it tangible,” he explained. “The verdict is vindication by the community for the life of Chastin, who was loved by many. Serving alcohol is a privilege with strict responsibilities attached to all liquor licenses, and rules must be followed to prevent the known dangers alcohol can create when consumption laws aren’t followed.”
Cronauer Law, LLP is a boutique civil trial firm headquartered in Sycamore, Illinois, with lawyers licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Utah, and Texas. It offers the resources and results of a Chicago firm, with the ability to handle cases pro has vice nationwide.
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