Kansas Supreme Court: Bars Can’t Be Sued by Drunken Driving Victims


Kansas is one of just a handful of states that doesn’t allow a person injured by a drunk driver to sue the retailer who furnished the alcohol.

On Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld that 34-year-old rule, saying it was up to the Legislature to change it.

On March 10, 2015, Jeff Kudlacik was driving down 135th  Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park around 11 p.m. when a Ford Fusion going 70 miles an hour ran a red light and slammed into his Mitsubishi 3000 sedan, slicing it in half.

The accident left Kudlacik, who had just celebrated his 23rd birthday with his parents, with compound fractures in both of his femurs, a punctured lung, nine broken ribs and other injuries. He was placed in a medically induced coma for 21 days and spent 70 days in Overland Park Regional Medical Center before he was discharged. He subsequently  spent months in rehabilitation.

The driver who hit him, Michael Aaron Smith, had a blood alcohol content of 0.179, more than twice the legal level of impairment in Kansas.

Court records indicate that Smith had eight to 10 alcoholic drinks at Johnny’s Tavern in Shawnee over the course of about four and a half hours and then a beer at Barley’s Brewhaus in Overland Park over the course of an hour.

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