Bar Owners Being Sued

December 6, 2012


On August 17th Ekia Smith was with friends outside her apartment complex off Metric Boulevard in North Austin when police say 25-year-old Lauren Cherry struck her. She left the scene, but then returned and was arrested for failure to stop and render aid.

Ekia's attorney, Carl Barry, says he's obtained evidence Cherry was three times over the legal limit at the time of the crash and in his mind she was over-served by the two 6th street bars she told officers she went to before the crash.  "I wouldn't want another person to go through this again. I wouldn't want the idea of people thinking it won't happen to them," said Jenkins.  For that reason, Ekia's mother filed a lawsuit against Cherry, the Barcelona bar and the bar Toulouse.

According to Brendan Puthoff, owner of the bar Barcelona, "It looks like she and two friends were in there and ordered three drinks at one time and she only had one drink with us about 12:27 a.m. about three hours before the wreck happened."

TABC opened an investigation shortly after the incident. According to Captain Harry Nanos, that investigation is at a standstill pending further evidence. TABC can file charges for over-serving.  Barcelona has no offenses of the sort.  "Our hearts bleed for the family who is going through this right now. I don't think it means that the bar was responsible for the actions the driver too," Puthoff said.

Barry who has filed lawsuits against other bars for injury crimes and won, says at least it will send a message, which is Ekia's family's hope. "What this is saying is listen start serving more responsibility because I personally feel there is a real lack of responsibility in how bars serve their patrons," Barry said.

What do you think abou this lawsuit? Do you think that bar owners and bartenders should be held responsibile in this incident?  How can a server really know if a person is intoxicated when they are serving them, especially if they have been drinking before they came into a particukar establishment?

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