Crime & Courts

Parents sue hosts who let driver drink

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —The parents of a man killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2008 have sued the hosts of a party where the underage driver consumed alcohol.

For now, the defendants are identified in the lawsuit as Jane and John Doe because their exact identities are unknown.

Attorney James Wirken, who filed the lawsuit last month on behalf of Kelly and Kevin Riemann, said this week that once the Does' identities were obtained they would be added to the Jackson County Circuit Court lawsuit.

The Riemanns' son, 25-year-old Daniel Riemann, was walking near 56th Street and Ward Parkway on Mother's Day — May 11, 2008 — when he was struck by a car driven by Curtis W. Mertensmeyer of Mission Hills.

According to the lawsuit, Mertensmeyer, who was 20 at the time, and two passengers in his car had attended a party in south Kansas City where the Does allowed them to possess and consume alcohol.

Wirken said the Missouri Supreme Court had not directly ruled on the question of whether a person can bring a suit against defendants such as the Does under the circumstances alleged against them.

"This could be the case," he said.

The two young men who were in the car with Mertensmeyer after leaving the party are also named as defendants for allegedly encouraging and allowing him to drive in a reckless manner.

Mertensmeyer, who is now 22, was sued in a previously filed lawsuit and also faced criminal prosecution. He is not a defendant in the new lawsuit.

A wrongful-death lawsuit against him was settled, according to court records. Details of the settlement are confidential.

Mertensmeyer served 120 days in prison and remains on probation after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.

The Riemanns seek unspecified damages from the defendants.