Tort Law

Lawyer: Prosecutor's Fatal DUI a Liability Issue for County

The fallout continues over a suburban Chicago prosecutor’s alcohol-laden lunch last month, after her office was closed down for the day by a bomb threat.

A woman injured in a subsequent accident caused by Deputy Chief of Prosecutions Jane Radostits, 46, whose blood alcohol was three times the legal limit, is suing the Oak Brook restaurant that allegedly overserved her, reports the Chicago Tribune today. But that may not be all. DuPage County, which owned the car Radostits was driving, will probably be added as a defendant in the suit, along with the prosecutor’s estate, according to Chicago attorney Dennis H. Stefanowicz Jr., who represents the plaintiff.

Radostits herself was killed in the head-on crash that injured Michele D. Lubinski. Stefanowicz declined to say, the newspaper reported, whether former Deputy Chief Assistant State’s Atty. Jeffrey Kendall, who drove Radostits from the restaurant, in another county-owned car, to the parking lot to get her own county-owned vehicle, might also be named as a defendant. Those at the May 11 lunch at the Kona Grill also included “up to six other prosecutors and a secretary” from the DuPage County prosecutor’s office, the newspaper says, and in a Sunday editorial about Radostits’ “boozy lunch” the Tribune questioned why a law enforcement group would not have done more to prevent her from drinking and driving.

James G. Sotos, a lawyer for DuPage County, says it is not liable because Radostits was had permission to take the rest of the day off after the bomo threat and thus “was not working as a county employee at the time this crash occurred,” the Tribune writes. But Stefanowicz says the sheriff’s report of the accident states Radostits had been talking with Kendall on her cell phone about a court hearing approximately one minute before the accident. “I think the evidence is clear that there will be some issues to talk about,” the plaintiff lawyer says.

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