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Who ever heard of an incentive program consisting of getting patrons intoxicated and then letting them get behind the wheel of a car? Rick’s Cabaret in Houston, Texas, has a policy that requires its entertainers to pay a nightly 'house charge' in order to work at the club. They do so by accumulating “credits” based on the number of drinks they sell. If this means enticing customers to the point of intoxication, so be it.

A recent lawsuit alleges that Rick’s negligence has cost an 18-year-old her life. The woman was killed in March 2011 when a drunk driver slammed into her vehicle after being thrown out of Rick’s for refusing to pay for his drinks. She died from extensive blunt force injuries and a subdural brain hemorrhage. An investigation revealed his blood alcohol was 0.295, more than three times the legal limit in Texas. Witnesses said the drunk driver was not using his headlights, and evidence from the scene shows he was traveling approximately 130 mph.

This young woman will never attend college, start a career, raise a family, or become a grandmother because a strip club was so focused on profits that it had a complete disregard to safety.

The wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the driver, Rick’s Cabaret, and Trumps Inc., the company that maintains the club's alcoholic beverage permit. Under dram shop laws, the supplier of alcohol (restaurant, bar, liquor store, etc) may be held legally accountable (liable) for injuries caused by a customer to a third party, if the supplier “knowingly sells, furnishes or serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is in a noticeable state of intoxication, knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle.” The lawsuit contends that the club’s policy and the fact that the man was visibly intoxicated when they kicked him out and let him get behind the wheel, caused the fatal accident. Rick’s had the right to kick the man out for not paying his bill, but if he was clearly intoxicated, then employees should not have allowed him to get behind the wheel of a car. Don’t you agree? What do you think?

Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.


  1. Gravatar for Vern Dennis

    The victims of any drunk driver in the scenario described above should be able file a law suit BUT the drunk driver or her family should NOT unless they can proved that someone tied her up and poured liquor down her throat. At the very lease she should bear a huge percentage of comparative negligence - well over 50% and probably in the realm of 75%.

    Ultimately you are, and should be responsible for your own actions. Paraphrasing your own comment - [t]his young woman will never attend college, start a career, raise a family, or become a grandmother because she had a total disregard for her own safety.

  2. Vern: I don't understand your point. The young woman was NOT the drinker and driver here. She was the innocent victim of the drunk that Rick's served. What was her "total disregard for safety" that causes you to disparage her in this manner? Explain yourself, please.

  3. Gravatar for Vern Dennis

    Typo - I said the the victim should be able to pursue a claim - I meant to type that the drunk driver should not be able to pursue a claim

    [t]his young man will never attend college, start a career, raise a family, or become a grandfather because he had a total disregard for his own safety.

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