Gentleman wins $5.5 million lawsuit against bar for allowing him to get drunk and fight another customer

Originally published at: Gentleman wins $5.5 million lawsuit against bar for allowing him to get drunk and fight another customer | Boing Boing


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So, are we setting up a system where you have to convince the bartender you aren’t drunk to get another drink?

“Nah, officer, I mean, bartender, I’m not drunk. I’m a little dizzy from spinning around on that bar stool, but I’m not drunk. Could a drunk guy do this?” “Tada!”


Next up: Lawsuit for $1,000,000 for emotional damages after being refused service at a bar, and the fight which broke out as a result


EDIT: Never mind, I see someone else beat me to it. Removing the McD’s stuff.

It’s a weird case, one where I can see both sides. Bartenders and bars SHOULD watch how drunk folks are getting. But ultimately I would agree, they should not be held liable for what happens outside their doors.


So Texas is the “nanny state” Bill O’Reilly was always complaining about?


Meh, the amount of the award is noteworthy, but not the fact of the award. I can’t speak to Texas, but in Minnesota and Maryland, a person can be held responsible for damages caused by a person they served alcohol to. Not just bars and restaurants, but also private persons (which another reason parents hosting booze parties for their kids is so incredibly stupid). It’s been that way for decades.

More interesting to me is whether this bar/restaurant has a history of over-intoxicated individuals getting into and causing trouble. Maybe other non-compliance issues. The amount seems particularly large for a fight, although depending on the extend of the head injury, might result in a larger award.

I expect the award amount will be reduced on appeal, especially since Mr. Rawls apparantly has a history of intoxication-fueled poor decision making.


Ok, so just like the McDonald’s coffee case that’s been brought up, this case is also being seriously misrepresented here. From the linked article: “The court ruled in a default judgment, which means the owner of La Fogata did not respond to the lawsuit or even attend the hearing. The judge did not rule on whether Rawls claims were true.”


Seems like that amount would put the restaurant out of business. Is there some way to flag the individual so that any bar/restaurant/whatever in the future can refuse to serve him because he’s unable to drink responsibly?

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I think if there’s legal precedent, it would be in the state’s “dram shop laws”.

Looks like they considered this an extension of danger posed by the plaintiff after a cutoff point after initial inebriation was not enforced?


Restaurants and bars already do this. They can, and do, flag certain patrons as either difficult, or even not allowed in the restaurant. They are allowed to refuse service to people.


I don’t believe in karma, or that justice exists in this world. Rawls has been given an extraordinary second chance at life, but if he continues to be a jackass, he probably will end up hurting himself in a predictable and entirely avoidable manner long before he gets to fully enjoy the millions of dollars.


Right, if they know the individual in question because he’s caused problems in their establishment before. I was thinking of something that would allow all establishments to know that person X is a problem so they don’t serve that individual alcohol, like a No Fly list.


Good point, I should have read the article before commenting. I still stand by my statements. The article supports them, though indirectly. I am surprised the restaurant didn’t even bother to attend the meeting. I wonder if they went bankrupt, or just DGAF, thinking it would be thrown out?

I wonder if they will/did respond in the 30 days allowed.


The place appears to still be open. It’s a Mexican restaurant/sports bar in Andrews, Texas, which appears to be in the middle of nowhere in west Texas. My guess would be the owner didn’t take the lawsuit seriously when he was served.


Don’t some states have special things they put on IDs of people who are not old enough to purchase alcohol? Can something similar be done for people who have proven themselves incapable of handling alcohol (like under-age persons are assumed to be)

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You really want every bartender, bouncer, waiter, and owner of a bar or restaurant to have that kind of power?

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It would not be the bartender making the decision, but the judge who ordered the revoking of the offenders drinking privileges.

Edit to add: According to this lawsuit, every bartender, bouncer, waiter, and owner of a bar or restaurant has already been given the responsibility of exercising the power of who should-or-should-not drink. If they are being held responsible for enforcing a “Joe can’t hold his drink” rule, they should be given the power to enforce it.


My mom lost a default judgement in 2013 because the lawyer she hired has gotten herself disbarred before the court date and didn’t show up.


Did she sue the lawyer? She should have.