Family of Slain Louisiana Woman Settles With Restaurant Chain for Over-serving Intoxicated Man

The family of an Ascension Parish woman tragically killed along Interstate 10 successfully settled a civil suit against the restaurant that served alcohol to a man who they claimed caused the fatal accident by driving drunk. The family’s suit alleged that the restaurant served the man more than a gallon of beer, even after the man became “obviously intoxicated,” according to a Southeast Texas Record report. Because the crash occurred just outside Louisiana, in Texas, the family was permitted to seek compensation from the restaurant, in addition to the driver.

Amber Roussel and her husband were traveling from their home near Gonzales along westbound I-10 on July 30, 2012. As the couple drove, Caleb Harley and Derek McBride were drag racing along eastbound I-10. McBride lost control of his truck and crashed. The crash separated the brush guard from his truck, which launched into the windshield of the Roussel car, killing the wife.

The family’s action, which sought $32 million in damages, sued both McBride and Hooters Restaurant, where McBride and Harley had been drinking prior to the crash. According to the family, the restaurant served McBride 144 ounces of beer, along with two shots of liquor. Even a 220-pound man, who waited 30 minutes before driving after consuming that quantity of alcohol, would have a blood alcohol level of .250, according to .250 is more than three times the legal limit in each of Texas and Louisiana.

“The Beaumont Hooters … served McBride and Harley when they were obviously … intoxicated and unable to operate a motor vehicle,” the family’s complaint stated. The restaurant was negligent by continuing to provide alcohol to the two men after it had become very clear that the staff should have “cut them off.” Three days after jury selection began, Hooters settled, according to the Record.

Because the accident took place just over the Louisiana border into Texas, the case was filed in a Texas court in accordance with Texas law, which allowed the family to sue the restaurant for its alleged role in the fatal crash. Louisiana differs from Texas in that Louisiana has no “dram shop” law, which is the statute that allowed the family to sue the restaurant. Had the crash occurred in Louisiana, the family could sue the drunk driver, but not the restaurant. Knowledge of the law is vital in civil cases, as failing to understand the unique aspects of each state’s laws could potentially waste valuable time and resources, and negatively impact your case.

Similar to how the Roussels were Louisianans injured in a neighboring state, many out-of-staters are injured every year traveling I-10 in Louisiana, in addition to the state’s other highways and byways. Some may be travelers, while others may be residents of bordering states who commute or otherwise regularly drive in Louisiana. Regardless, if you are injured in an auto accident in Louisiana, it is essential to retain qualified Louisiana counsel to assist you in processing your case. As the Roussel case demonstrates, laws are not uniform from state to state. A Louisiana attorney can not only analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your evidence, but also advise you and explain the specifics of Louisiana law, which may differ significantly from the law of your home state.

To learn more about your Louisiana case, contact the Louisiana auto accident attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. We can help you in numerous ways as you seek to protect your right to compensation, while at the same time going forward with the responsibilities of your daily life.

For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.

More Blog Posts:

New Orleans Visitors: Know How to Deal With an Injury or Accident Far From Home, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Nov. 24, 2013
Improperly Lit Truck Leads Jury to Award $2.8M Judgment, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Oct. 15, 2013
Driving with Distractions – Louisiana Texting Negligence, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, May 9, 2013

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