A Lake Forest woman’s homeowners insurance will pay $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a young man who was paralyzed in a crash that occurred after an underage drinking party in her home.
The settlement between Lauralee Pfeifer, whose teenage daughters hosted the party, and George Baldwin, 22, was approved Wednesday by Judge Christopher Starck in Lake County Circuit Court.
In 2006, Baldwin, then a 19-year-old Lake Forest High School graduate, went to Pfeifer’s home with a friend, William Klairmont, then 18 and also from Lake Forest. They were visiting Pfeifer’s daughters, and all drank beer in the girls’ bedroom.
Klairmont was intoxicated when he drove home and lost control of his car in Lake Bluff, said Patrick Salvi, Baldwin’s lawyer. Baldwin, a passenger, was injured.
Legally adults but not old enough to drink, Baldwin won the settlement even though Pfeifer did not buy the alcohol for the teens or know they were drinking in her home, according to the Tribune.
This is a powerful warning for parents to be extra vigilant, and yet another wake-up call for parents who do know their teens are drinking or, worse yet, buy the alcohol for them.