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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rick's Cabaret in Houston after Fatal DWI Crash
The Lanier Law Firm says drink-sales policy at popular strip club led to student's death
August 6, 2012 8:40 am

HOUSTON An incentive program that encourages workers to sell as many drinks as possible at Rick's Cabaret International Inc. (Nasdaq: RICK) in Houston is the subject of a lawsuit filed today by the family of an 18-year-old high school student who was killed last year by an intoxicated driver who had just left the club.

Katherine Mabel Jones, known by her friends as "Emily," was killed on March 30, 2011, when her truck was struck from behind by a car driven by Erasmo Ramirez of Houston. Ms. Jones was a popular senior at Caney Creek High School in Conroe, where she also was a member of the school's color guard.

The horrific crash dislodged the bed of Ms. Jones' truck, crushing the truck's cab. She died at a Houston hospital approximately nine hours later with extensive blunt force injuries and a subdural brain hemorrhage. Less than 30 minutes before the crash, Mr. Ramirez was thrown out of Rick's Cabaret after running out of money and refusing to pay for more drinks. Investigators determined his blood alcohol content was 0.295, more than three times the legal limit in Texas.

Witnesses told investigators that Mr. Ramirez was not using his car's headlights prior to the crash, and evidence from the accident scene indicates he was traveling approximately 130 mph. Mr. Ramirez was charged with intoxication manslaughter and later was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

According to the lawsuit filed by attorneys from The Lanier Law Firm, Rick's Cabaret requires its entertainers to pay a nightly "house charge" in order to work at the club. The lawsuit says workers are encouraged to pay the nightly fee by accumulating "credits" based on the number of drinks they sell, a policy that encourages over-serving the club's patrons, including intoxicated customers such as Mr. Ramirez.

"Emily will never be able to realize the beautiful life she had ahead of her because a strip club wanted to make more money regardless of the dangers," says Houston attorney Mark Lanier, counsel for the Jones family and founder of The Lanier Law Firm. "We're determined that those responsible for taking this young woman's life will be held accountable."

In addition to Rick's Cabaret, also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Mr. Ramirez and Houston-based Trumps Inc., which maintains the club's alcoholic beverage permit.

With offices in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Palo Alto, The Lanier Law Firm is committed to addressing client concerns with effective and innovative solutions in courtrooms across the country. The firm is composed of outstanding trial attorneys with decades of experience handling cases involving pharmaceutical liability, asbestos exposure, intellectual property, business litigation, product liability, maritime law, bad faith insurance claims, and sports and entertainment law.

For more information on the wrongful death lawsuit against Rick's Cabaret, please contact J.D. Cargill at 713-659-5200.


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