Client Stories: Big City Wings Puts Young Woman in Peril at Work Outing

Michael GrossmanJuly 18, 2019 3 minutes

You may have noticed that there's a lot of ignorance in the world today. And given its complexity, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that much of that ignorance is focused on our legal system. This is particularly true with areas of the law that the media and popular culture don't often discuss, like dram shop. In an attempt to fill the informational void, our firm sometimes uses our platform to discuss cases we've accepted that shed light on various aspects of liquor liability law.

The case we'll discuss today involves a woman under the legal drinking age who was massively over-served by a casual dining restaurant. She ultimately suffered massive injuries requiring extensive surgeries and has a long road to recovery ahead, but we have every reason to believe that we'll be able to hold the establishment accountable for their part in this tragedy.

An Outing With Co-workers Becomes A Life-Changing Trauma

Our client's story begins with her co-workers taking her out for drinks at Big City Wings, a local restaurant in Spring, TX. This certainly wasn't the most responsible thing for them to do, but it's what happened next that's the truly appalling part, as the restaurant served our client eight shots of Fireball whiskey over only an hour.

What sets this brand apart, and what may account for its popularity among young and inexperienced drinkers, is its sweet cinnamon taste. This increases the likelihood of rapid consumption in a short period of time. As one bartender quoted in national media put it, "You forget you're drinking alcohol." Given that the product contains an alcohol by volume percentage only slightly less than a typical whiskey, this can be a very dangerous situation, particularly for someone who may be less aware of their limits when it comes to drinking.

After the restaurant's staff served her these copious amounts of alcohol, the woman became blackout drunk, with BAC results at more than three times the legal limit. While it seems as though her co-workers left her to find her own way home, another customer helped her back to her car so she could get some sleep. He told her not to drive, but, perhaps unsurprisingly given her condition, she attempted to drive the vehicle away, with tragic results.

While weaving through traffic on a highway frontage road, our client's car struck another vehicle before rolling over several times. As a result of the crash, she suffered serious injuries, including swelling in the brain requiring surgery. While she is doing well considering the circumstances, her road to recovery will be long, arduous, and expensive, particularly as her family has no health insurance.

Some might see this as simply a case of a foolhardy young person who made a couple of terrible mistakes and whose parents want someone else to pay for the consequences. Speaking ethically rather than legally, there's certainly plenty of blame to go around for what happened here, starting with the co-workers who took someone under the legal drinking age out to paint the town red and left her . But the idea that an establishment shouldn't suffer serious consequences when someone suffers life-changing injuries because the wait staff illegally served them copious amounts of alcohol simply defies any meaningful concept of justice.

Admittedly, there's a bit more going on here than many of the dram shop cases we litigate, but the basic principle remains the same and is pretty easy to understand. When bars decide to put their desire for alcohol revenues over fulfilling their obligation to public safety, it puts all of us at risk. That's why firms like ours are here to make sure they pay a price for their careless decisions.