Texas Man Wins Lawsuit After Bar Fight
This one is a bit confusing. A Texas man sued a bar-restaurant for overserving him alcohol. The man got into a fight with another man in the parking lot and sustained head injuries as a result of that fight. The plaintiff was awarded $5.5 million.
Texas is a state that doesn’t like complainers. Injury lawsuits tend to be more difficult to win in our state than in other states like Florida or California. So then the question becomes, how did a drunk guy win $5.5 million against a bar for an injury he received during a fight with another customer? In this article, we’ll discuss how.
How did the plaintiffs win this lawsuit?
If you’re being sued by a plaintiff, it behooves you to respond to that complaint. In this case, the bar either never bothered to retain counsel or ignored the summons entirely. Without counsel or a response, the judge entered a summary judgment against the defendant for $5.5 million. The bar will be forced to pay that sum (or be driven out of business) unless they can appeal the verdict. The restaurant will have 30 days from the date of ruling to issue an appeal.
Is there any strategic advantage to ignoring a summons?
Not really. At least not if you want to save your business. Let’s look at the position of the business for a second. They now have a $5.5 million judgment against them that has become the equivalent of a debt with the plaintiff as the creditor. The business has two options. They can either pay the money owed or they can declare bankruptcy, discharge the entire debt, but in the process, their business will have all of its assets liquidated to repay the creditor-plaintiff. So, the plaintiff may only recover a small fraction of their money, but they get the solace of knowing they killed the business.
Is there any other explanation for not showing up in court?
In fact, yes. Often when you hear about a defendant not showing up in court, it’s because there was a dispute between their general commercial liability coverage insurer and the company. In this case, the bar’s insurer likely told the bar that they were on their own, and the bar either never received the message or ignored it.
It’s a strong possibility that on appeal, the bar will raise an insurance-dispute defense. In essence, they will ask the court to vacate the judgment because they were under the impression that their insurer would defend them, as is usually the case. If the bar was behind on their liability insurance, or otherwise has no insurance, then the judgment against the bar will likely not be overturned on appeal. Nonetheless, lawsuits such as this do not result in $5.5 million settlements unless punitive damages are awarded. Even then, juries tend to think that dudes injured during bar fights are to blame for their injuries.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence or malice of another individual, the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers can help you file a claim against the negligent party and recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced quality of life.