|Lanier Law Firm Attorney Eugene "Gene" Egdorf quoted in Houston Chronicle article |
Father says strip club played role in daughter's death
|He's suing, alleging the business served a man too many drinks before fatal crash|
|August 7, 2012 12:42 pm|
The lawsuit he filed was bound to draw attention, dwelling as it does on the purported business practices of a well-known local strip club. But Ross Jones really doesn't care who sold all those drinks to the driver who killed his daughter - he simply wants them to stop and think.
"It could be the fanciest restaurant in town, it doesn't matter," said Jones, who filed suit Monday in state court against Rick's Cabaret, alleging an incentive program encourages club employees to overserve customers. "You serve someone that drunk more and more drinks and then put him in a car, something bad is going to happen."
In this case, the worst possible thing happened. On March 29, 2011, Erasmo Ramirez left Rick's around 9:30 p.m., drove like a wild man down Beltway 8 and rear-ended the truck that Jones' daughter Emily was driving. The speed of Ramirez's vehicle was estimated by authorities at 130 mph and he was found to have a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit, the result of having been served more than a dozen drinks. His headlights were not even on.
"Establishments that don't follow the law should be held accountable," said Gene Egdorf, Jones' attorney. "Dram shop legislation is supposed to have some teeth in it. That's why we filed this lawsuit. I have nothing against Rick's or any bar being a business, but they are supposed to act responsibly. There was no doubt this man was inebriated significantly. Police talked to witness who were at Rick's that evening who said there was no doubt Ramirez was drunk."
"No one is walking home from Rick's Cabaret," said Egdorf, referring to its location on Sam Houston Tollway, between I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road. "They are getting on the beltway, which is not a cautious driving zone anyway, to say the least. They might as well have loaded the gun for him."
"You're not going to stop people from drinking," Jones said. "You're not going to stop establishments from serving alcohol. We just want them to drink responsibly. Don't give the guy 15 or 20 drinks. It's common sense. We all know this, but people choose to sell more drinks and make more money."
© 2012 Hearst Communications Inc.
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