Another Houston Baker Street Pub Sued

Who is Liable, the seller or the drinker?

Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub is being sued again following the death of Robert Wilhite’s 2011 death.  Wilhite’s family is accusing the pub of over-serving alcoholic beverages to him just before he died near the Willowbrook bar’s location.  The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) governs seller/server laws in Texas, and specifically states that establishments who sell or serve alcohol and their employees are responsible for making sure patrons are not served to the point of intoxication.  Over the past three years there have been several lawsuits involving Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub.  Below is a timeline of some of the latest lawsuits.   Do you think the bar is liable?  Do you think the server is liable?  Or, do you think the patron drinking the alcohol is liable?  Leave your comments below.  This should be a good discussion!

April 2009 Delia Jones sued the pub following a serious car accident that killed her daughter and injured her son-in-law after they left the bar.  Her daughter Jessica Ayala was killed in the accident, but her husband Guillermo Ayala survived.  Guillermo was driving their vehicle oh Texas Hwy 3 when he lost control and crashed into a tree. 

February 2011 Sherlock Pub’s River Oaks location was closed (and still is) after HPD officer Jose Coronado killed Omar Ventura in the bar’s parking lot.  Both men had been drinking alcohol inside the pub before the incident.  Coronado was reportedly trying to break up a fight in the parking lot, when he found it necessary to fire his weapon at Omar and his brother Rolando Ventura. Omar's brother Rolando survived the incident.  Omar Ventura’s family sued Baker Street Pub accusing them of serving alcohol negligently, specifically blaming their happy hour policy as a catalyst in the incident.  Coronado was temporarily relieved of duty, as HPD rules state that officers cannot use their enforcement authority when under the influence of alcohol.  Coronado was under the legal limit when he attempted to break up the fight.

November 2012 A 24-year-old bartender at Baker Street Pub’s Woodlands location was arrested early on a Sunday morning after allegedly over-serving a patron the night before.  The allegedly intoxicated man, who was also arrested, was reportedly shouting racial slurs and stumbling in public. He didn’t need to hire a DWI lawyer because he never even tried to drive a vehicle.  The man was charged with Public Intoxication and disturbing the peace.  But the bartender went to jail…

June 2012 Another lawsuit was filed against their Clear Lake location in 2012 by the family of Martinique Rubio, who claimed that the pub was responsible for his death in 2011.  However, unlike the other cases Rubio was not driving when he left the pub.  He rode in the back of a friend’s truck, but fell out and was killed by another car on the road. 

January 2013 Robert Wilhite’s family sues Baker Street Pub seeking damages for his death, claiming that the church going father was served past the point of intoxication.  The family claims that Baker Street Pub was negligent in serving Wilhite alcohol, and letting him get in a car to drive.  This is the third time in as many years that the Baker Street Pub has been sued by a family alleging that they served a patron past the point of intoxication, allegedly causing their motor vehicle deaths. 

What do you think?

Unfortunately for the owners of Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub, their bar is the common denominator in all of these unfortunate events.  One could blame the popularity of the bar and the media attraction it gets for the countless lawsuits filed against it.  Conversely one could point the finger at the bar’s serving policy, or the individuals who served the customers themselves.  Is this really a series of unfortunate events or is there a pattern here?

 

Houston Scores Better than Other Texas Cities for Quality Drivers

 Men’s Health Magazine released a study that they recently conducted to see which cities had the best and worst drivers.  Houston ranked 46th in the nation for bad drivers, and Dallas ranked even worse in 14th place for this unceremonious award.  Anyone who has ever visited the beautiful city of Corpus Christi wouldn’t be surprised by their 11th place spot either.  Even the Alamo couldn’t help San Antonio from ranking worse than Houston in the 25th spot. Our state's beautiful capital still ranked worse than us in 41st place.  Luckily for us in Houston, we rank better than four of the most populace cities in Texas. 

They got these results from studying factors that increase drivers’ safety, such as speeding, frequency of car accidents, seat belt usage, and drunk driving stats.  Obviously Houston drivers are doing something wrong to end up on the list of the worst drivers in America. But anyone who spends a lot of time driving in this city doesn’t need Men’s Health Magazine to point that out!  I’m actually surprised that Houston is ranking as low as it is in their study for poor quality drivers.  When I originally saw a report about this study’s findings here, I was shaking my head thinking “of course Houston has the 4th worst drivers in the country”.  Then I read the real report and realized they made a pretty sizeable error interpreting the data. 

Houston is not ranked fourth, or anywhere near the top 10 for cities with the worst drivers.  But Corpus is!  I’m surprised Corpus Christi was not ranked higher honestly.  Corpus Christi has a population of about 308,000 people.  It is a relaxing beach town with many thriving businesses and a great local vibe.  The only bad thing about Corpus Christi is the drivers.  Here’s a tip I learned the hard way in Corpus Christi: when you are on the feeder road, be prepared to stop frequently.  In Corpus Christi, drivers don’t slow down when they exit the freeway because they expect all of the traffic on the feeder road to stop when they see a car exiting.  Needless to say, this town’s drivers need some serious driving lessons.

However annoying unique driving habits in cities are, they are not the reason that these cities ranked high for being the worst cities to drive in.  Look at this table from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Texas is off the charts for driving fatalities alone, not even considering drunk driving or any other contributing factors.No wonder so many of our cities are on this list!  If you're a DWI lawyer in Houston, Texas you might want to consider living in Corpus Christi. You'll get more clients per capita there.

 

 

References:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Traffice Safety Facts: State Motor Vehicle Fatalities and State Alcohol-Impaired Motor Vehicle Fatalities, 2011.  http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811699.pdf

 

Oregon Teenager Posts Drunk Driving Status on Facebook

 People write all kinds of desperate and stupid posts on Facebook, but one teenager from Astoria, Oregon takes the cake with his self-implicating post.  His Facebook post said “Drivin drunk… classic ;) but to whoever’s car I hit I am sorry.  :p.” This could have been just another desperate status update to get people’s attention, but a couple of his Facebook friends took this post seriously.  So serious, in fact, that they forwarded the message to the local police department.

First of all, any DUI or DWI lawyer will tell you never to admit guilt or submit to an alcohol test if you are stopped by the police.  However, this teenager was helpful enough to take all of the police work out of the two damaged vehicle reports they had received earlier.  Thanks to him, the two damaged vehicles’ owners now have evidence against him to make an insurance claim. 

Luckily for this teen, he was not pulled over while “drivin drunk”.  However, police officers did go to his house and charge him with two counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver.  Let this be a lesson to everyone out there that it is never okay to plead guilty to driving under the influence on Facebook or any other social media sites!  It is not advisable to plead guilty to any other crime on social media sites for that matter.

The teenager has told the media repeatedly that he was only being sarcastic, and that the icy roads caused him to slide into the two vehicles.  He says that he posts sarcastic stuff like that all of the time.  Well, if he continues to post sarcastic, incriminating status updates he will not have to worry about his Facebook friends for long because he will be in prison.  Hopefully he learned his lesson, and put a breathalyzer on his Facebook account.