CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A fatal drunk driving accident led to a historic Texas dram shop verdict last week. A Texas jury of three women and three men found an establishment negligent and grossly negligent for overserving its customer who subsequently caused a deadly head-on collision.
In Hernandez, et al vs. S&S Bros., Inc., Cause No. 2011 CCV-61795-4, in the County Court at Law No. 4, Nueces County, Texas, the plaintiffs’ personal injury trial lawyers or Liles Harris, PLLC proved their clients’ case to the jury. The crux of the case involved Texas liquor liability laws and the responsibility of establishments that serve alcohol for subsequent accidents caused by their drunken patrons.
Only seven minutes after a liquor serving establishment escorted patron Jonathan Palacios to his car, he drove that car the wrong direction on Texas State Highway 358 in Corpus Christi, striking the car driven by 18 year old Bryant Hernandez head-on. Both drivers were killed. Palacios was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.24 at the time of his death, which is three times the legal limit for intoxication in Texas.
After only five hours of deliberation, the jury awarded the parents of 18 year old Bryant Hernandez $18,750,000 dollars. The jury found the defendant liable for serving alcohol to Palacios when it was apparent that he was obviously intoxicated, then putting him in his car, leading to the fatal crash a mere seven minutes later.
“Establishments in Texas that serve alcohol know that it is illegal to continue to serve alcohol to obviously intoxicated customers, and then turn them out on the roadways putting everyone in the community at risk,” said Kevin Liles, the lead trial attorney in the two-week trial. “Everyone knows that the more alcohol you drink, the worse your judgment becomes, and bars can’t ignore that fact to maximize their profits.”
Trial evidence showed that Palacios was served at least 17 drinks, and that he was showing numerous signs of intoxication. Palacios was eventually kicked out of the bar, and escorted to his car. That decision by the defendant proved deadly. Within a couple of miles, he struck Hernandez’s vehicle, and both young men died in the crash at 10:15pm on Friday, June 24, 2011.
“I hope this jury’s message will send a message to the bars in our community to review, and change if necessary, their policies to safely sell alcohol and have efforts in place to keep obviously intoxicated customers off the roadway,” said Liles.
Liles Harris, PLLC has handled hundreds of catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Texas and across the country. Our trial lawyers have won significant legal victories in products liability and personal injury litigation. For more information about our law firm, please visit our Website, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.