Texas Jury Awards $27 Million Verdict against McDonald's Following Teens'
BRYAN, Texas, July 30, 2014
BRYAN, Texas, July 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --A Texas jury today awarded a $27
million verdict against fast food giant McDonald's after finding that lax
security at one of the chain's restaurants contributed to the deaths of two
Texas teenagers in 2012.
Blinn College students Denton James Ward, 18, of Flower Mound, and Lauren
Bailey Crisp, 19, of Dripping Springs, died in the early morning hours of Feb.
18, 2012, after stopping with another couple at a McDonald's location in
College Station where police repeatedly had been called to break up fights.
While walking through the McDonald's parking lot near the Texas A&M University
campus, Mr. Ward and a friend were viciously attacked by a mob. They then were
loaded into Mr. Ward's SUV by their girlfriends. As they raced toward a nearby
hospital, Ms. Crisp's friend ran a red light and collided with a pickup truck
in a crash that resulted in Ms. Crisp's death.
The teens' families claimed McDonald's should have provided better security at
the restaurant, where police were called more than 20 times to break up fights
in the year leading up to the deaths, according to trial evidence. Despite the
location's history of late-night violence, McDonald's never hired any security
personnel and never installed security cameras to help protect customers.
"We hope this verdict sends a powerful message to McDonald's and other
companies that protecting customers is more important than late-night
revenue," says attorney Chris Hamilton of Dallas' Standly Hamilton, LLP, lead
trial counsel for the teens' families. "The night these two kids died, this
was a dangerous location, and McDonald's knew it. Yet they did nothing to
prevent their senseless deaths."
During the six-day trial, witnesses testified that Mr. Ward died in the
parking lot after being kicked and stomped by 15 to 20 attackers. McDonald's
maintained that Mr. Ward died in the car wreck that followed, and that the
company wasn't responsible for the teens' safety.
One of the attackers, Marcus Jones, was sentenced to 90 days in jail for
assaulting Mr. Ward's friend. No other arrests were made. College Station
Police officers testified they regularly were called to the location to break
up fights and disperse unsupervised crowds numbering in the hundreds between 2
a.m. and 4 a.m. on weekends. Despite that testimony, two former managers who
were working at the same McDonald's that night testified they were unaware of
The $27 million verdict handed down in the 361^st District Court of Judge
Steve Smith is for actual damages.
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SOURCE Standly Hamilton, LLP
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