Houston Partner Philip Robert Brinson and Senior Counsel Delia Rivera achieved favorable outcomes for their clients in a weeklong jury trial of a premises liability case on July 26, 2023. The case involved a Canadian gas and oil executive who was celebrating their 61st birthday at the firm’s client’s restaurant and bar in Midland, Texas.
The plaintiff alleged that they slipped and fell while returning empty beer mugs to the bar, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. After the incident, the plaintiff was hospitalized for three days, with two of those days spent in intensive care, recovering from a traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage, subdural hematoma, and a .325 blood alcohol level. There was evidence of excessive chronic alcohol use both before and after the incident. The plaintiff claimed increasingly severe cognitive decline since the injury and expressed concerns about a higher risk of early-onset dementia.
The plaintiff brought suit against both the operating entity of the bar and the parent company, which owned and licensed the trademark to the operating entity. To support his claims, the plaintiff provided expert testimony from a neurologist, neuropsychologist, and radiologist who produced MRI DTI scans to illustrate the alleged brain damage areas. The plaintiff also presented a life care plan, projecting future therapy and attendant care costs exceeding $1 million. Initially, the plaintiff demanded $11 million, which was later reduced to $5 million after the start of the trial.
During the trial, the plaintiff's counsel refused to negotiate with the defendants unless they agreed to tender the $1 million primary policy, an offer that the defendants declined.
The client's parent company received a directed verdict at the close of the plaintiff’s case in chief, and the operating entity received a complete defense verdict when the 12-person jury found no negligence on their part.