Austin’s famous nightspots and gatherings see every safety challenge you might expect in “the live music capital of the world.”
From minor customer stumbles to crowd control failures and true catastrophes, local entertainment venues can make for dangerous situations.
And sometimes, courts hold nightclub management responsible for what happens on their watch.
Bar fight winds up in the Texas Supreme Court
The highest court in Texas upheld a lower court’s $1.5 million award to a customer who suffered severe injuries during a bar fight at a Texas resort.
One weekend, the resort hosted a fraternity reunion. On Friday night, it had to close the bar an hour early due to unruly and drunken behavior, according to court transcripts.
The next night, a wedding party also stayed at the resort. Members of the fraternity and the wedding partly mixed, slowly becoming drunker and steadily more hostile as Saturday night wore on.
After 90 minutes of very heated insults and increasingly rough contact, a full-scale brawl broke out, the jury heard. One guest sustained serious head injuries trying to help a friend out of the melee.
Management should have seen it coming
The Supreme Court wrote that many factors go into whether a bar is liable for injuries. They can include whether the customers were “invited,” whether injuries were relatively random or foreseeable, and what kind of event or venue was involved.
In this case, the court agreed that the management of the bar did not act like a “reasonable person who knew or should have known” that a fight was likely to break out.
The bar failed in its duty to “take action to make the condition of the premises reasonably safe” and the Texas Supreme Court ordered the resort and its insurance company to pay the $1.5 million.