During Austin’s South by Southwest Festival in 2014, a 23-year-old man drove a car into a crowd of people on Red River Street. He was intoxicated and trying to elude police when he plowed through the barricades that blocked off the live music district. Four people were killed and more than two dozen more were injured.
The man was convicted of capital murder in November 2015 and sentenced to life in prison. For some, though, the legal battles dealing with the tragedy are not over. One woman is suing a bar in Austin for allegedly serving the man alcohol before he got into his vehicle and drove away.
The woman’s husband was killed during the incident at the festival. According to the lawsuit, the bar is Club 1808, and named as another defendant. The woman had already filed the lawsuit back in December 2014 against the organizers of the SXSW festival. The lawsuit alleges that Club 1808 continued to serve the man even though he was drunk – and visibly so. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the bar allowed the man to smoke marijuana while on the bar’s premises.
Texas has dram shop liability laws, which according to FindLaw, states that someone can bring legal action against establishments and people “who serve and sell alcohol to a person who is obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others.” This kind of personal injury lawsuit is often filed in addition to any criminal charges against those who are responsible for alcohol-related harm done to others by intoxicated persons. You can learn more about this state law from an attorney experienced in drunk driving injuries or deaths.
Source: Austin Business Journal, “Austin bar faces lawsuit over 2014 SXSW crash, report says,” Michael Theis, March 11, 2016