Plaintiff sued Lorence Kopmann and Anna, John, and Mary Huls for the death of Lewis McCormick, arguing in the alternative that one of the parties had caused his death. Kopmann filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the allegations were inconsistent and could not be plead together.
A plaintiff may plead inconsistent allegations in the alternative when genuinely in doubt as to the cause of the claim.
Lewis McCormick was killed when his car collided with Lorence Kopmann’s car. McCormick’s widow (Plaintiff) sued Kopmann (Defendant) under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, arguing that Kopmann had negligently driven across the center line of the street causing the two cars to collide. In the alternative, Plaintiff sued Anna, John, and Mary Huls (Defendants) under the Illinois Dram Shop Act, arguing the Huls had sold alcohol to McCormick causing him to drive while intoxicated. Kopmann moved to dismiss the claim against him, arguing that the two allegations were inconsistent and could not stand together.
Can inconsistent allegations be plead together?
Yes, inconsistent allegations can be plead together in the alternative. The judgment is affirmed.
The Court first determined that it was appropriate for Plaintiff to plead in the alternative because she was uncertain about the facts surrounding the accident. Under this rule, the Court determined that denial of Kopmann’s motion to dismiss was proper. Here, the trial revealed that there was proof Kopmann drove over the line in the street whereas there was no proof that the Huls caused McCormick to become intoxicated.