The decedent was tragically killed when an 85 year-old man mistakenly accelerated instead of braking, crashing his Chrysler Sebring into a Subway sandwich shop at a busy Chicago intersection. The decedent was killed when the driver’s vehicle slammed into the store and pinned the patron between the car and the restaurant counter.
The decedent’s estate relied on the Illinois Supreme Court case of Marshall v. Burger King Corp., 222 Ill.2d 422 (2006), in which the Illinois Supreme Court overturned a “no-duty” ruling of the trial court and determined that business owners had the duty to protect patrons from out-of-control vehicles crashing through their walls. Targeting the owner of the premises, in this case Subway, set the current case apart from many other theories of liability. The estate alleged that Subway’s negligence in preventing the Illinois car accident was foreseeable because of the poorly designed parking lot and the lack of protective barriers between the lot and the front of the restaurant.
The other defendants in the case had previously settled with the decedent’s estate: the 85 year-old driver, the restaurant chain’s owner, the franchise, and Chrysler Corporation. The restaurant settled with the decedent’s estate for $1 million after jury selection in the Circuit Court of Cook County had already been made.