SD justices consider speedway lawsuit - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

SD justices consider speedway lawsuit

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Vermillion, S.D. (KTIV) - Should one Siouxland business be held responsible for an employee who drank on the job and then caused harm to a patron of that business?

It was summer 2003 when Dean Curry an employee at Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson South Dakota drank too much while on the clock.

Dean Curry, a minor at the time, secretly stole alcohol and drank while on his shift.

About an hour after his shift ended, he drove away in his own truck and right outside of Speedway's property, Curry hit a man and woman on a motorcycle.

The woman, Catherine McGuire was seriously injured from the accident.

She later sued Curry and the Speedway, but later the Speedway was able to get out of the lawsuit, since the incident happened after work and not on work property.

But McGuire wants Park Jefferson Speedway to pay along with Curry.

Tuesday, in an appeal filed by the Plaintiff, South Dakota Supreme Court Justices heard from both sides.

McGuire's attorney claims negligence by Park Jefferson since the owners, which are Dean Curry's family, knew he had access to alcohol and had a drinking problem.

But attorneys for Park Jefferson disagree.

"If there was ever a case of negligent hiring this is it.  All they had to do is ask Mrs. Curry should we put Dean in charge of the alcohol?  She would say, no, frankly, he's an alcoholic and he's in substance abuse treatment and I don't think that's a wise decision," said Ronald Parson, attorney for Catherine McGuire.

"We're dealing with someone who is underage in that he was 20, not a minor.  He was legally responsible for his actions and he understood what he was doing and understood that what he was doing was not in the employers interest and did it none the less," said Joel Vos, attorney for Park Jefferson Speedway.

Justices will make a decision on whether Park Jefferson Speedway should be held liable for what the harm their employee caused to Catherine McGuire.

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