McDonald’s Pays $27M for Two Deaths

DALLAS, May 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The top Texas premises liability verdict during the past 10 years is the record $27 million jury award won by the Dallas law firm Standly Hamilton, LLP, against fast food giant McDonald’s, according to the publishers of VerdictSearch.

In addition to being the top premises liability verdict, Standly Hamilton’s courtroom victory is the 12th-largest jury verdict awarded in Texas last year. VerdictSearch also lists the McDonald’s verdict as the largest in a Texas premises liability case since 2005. The full listing of Top Texas Verdicts appears in the May 25 edition of Texas Lawyer newspaper.

Attorney Chris Hamilton of Standly Hamilton represented the families of Denton James Ward, 18, and Lauren Bailey Crisp, 19, in their claims that lax security contributed to the two teenagers’ deaths. Mr. Ward died after being severely beaten by a large group of people who had gathered in the McDonald’s parking lot in College Station during the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2012. Ms. Crisp died shortly afterward in a car wreck while a friend attempted to rush her and Mr. Ward to the hospital.

According to trial evidence, police were called to the same McDonald’s location at least 20 times in the year prior to the teenagers’ deaths. McDonald’s managers testified that they were unaware of the documented problems despite numerous reports showing that the restaurant’s employees repeatedly called police to the same location because of unruly crowds. Case evidence also showed that McDonald’s never hired security guards or installed outside video surveillance to combat the obvious safety problems faced by customers.

“The jurors’ award in this case is in line with what they saw in McDonald’s complete lack of respect for customer safety,” says Mr. Hamilton. “While it is professionally gratifying to know that a verdict our firm won is ranked among the largest in Texas, the fact is that no amount of money will ever be able to reunite the victims and their families.”

Testifying Security Expert Witness: J. Patrick Murphy