Wrongful death case filed against St. Louis area police officer and bar has settled

bar01.jpgSt. Louis area police officer, Christine L. Miller, has settled the wrongful death lawsuit filed against her by the families of the four deceased passengers involved in the traffic accident caused by Miller while she was driving drunk in March 2009.

Miller, a Sunset Hills police officer, was off-duty when she had been drinking at O’Leary’s Pub on South Lindbergh the night of March 21, 2009. After leaving the pub, she drove her car into oncoming traffic in Des Peres Missouri, striking the automobile carrying the four deceased. O’Leary’s Pub was also a party to the lawsuit, for its role in serving alcohol to Miller. The total amount of the settlement is $2.25 million dollars, the limit of Miller’s and O’Leary’s insurance policies. The families of the deceased will each receive $331,375.

Under Missouri’s dram shop law, a bar can be held liable for serving alcohol to an intoxicated person which later results in the death or injury of a person, but the burden of proof is “clear and convincing evidence” which can be a difficult burden for a plaintiff to meet. Had the plaintiffs taken this case to trial, they would have had a high burden of proof to overcome to succeed in a case against O’Leary’s.

Miller is still awaiting trial on the four charges of manslaughter that are pending against her. A survivor of the crash has also brought a personal injury action against Miller, which is still unresolved.