A jury in Riverside County, California, awarded $6 million to a valet at a country club whom a drunk driver severely injured.
According to the complaint, the defendant, Keith James Dudum, was drinking at the weekly “Thirsty Thursday” event at the Hideaway Country Club in La Quinta, CA, before he chose to drive a woman back to her home. Before getting behind the wheel, a fellow club guest noticed their impaired state and offered to drive them home. But, Dudum insisted on driving the woman home. Instead, he instructed the plaintiff to follow him in Dudum’s vehicle while he drove the intoxicated woman home in her vehicle.
The plaintiff was a valet at Hideaway Country Club who did as instructed and followed Dudum in his 2013 Maserati Granturismo back to the woman’s house. After dropping her off, Dudum made the Plaintiff get in the passenger seat so that Dudum could drive him back to the country club.
On the drive back, Dudum suddenly and without warning accelerated the Maserati to over three times the posted 25 miles per hour speed limit. Dudum lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a stationary brick monument as he entered a curve. The impact was so severe that the monument sheared through the passenger door, ripping off the rear wheel and deploying all airbags.
“By driving drunk and at a reckless speed in a residential neighborhood, the defendant clearly chose to prioritize his entertainment over the safety of those around him,” said lead attorney Khail A. Parris of PARRIS Law Firm. After the collision, Dudum left the Plaintiff in the mangled Maserati, and ran into the clubhouse to get crackers from the kitchen staff because he was “shaken up” and according to him, his “stomach was upset.”
“Obviously, his privileged outlook gave him the skewed view that the rules didn’t apply to him,” said Of Counsel attorney Bruce L. Schechter. “Everyone around him wanted to avoid this exact situation, and yet he chose to place the general public in harm’s way and our client paid the price for his decisions,” Schechter added.
“Dudum’s first action after the crash was to eat some crackers. He didn’t care if our client was hurt or needed help,” said Parris.