The Supreme Court of Texas today upheld a $1.48 million verdict and judgment for a man who sustained a skull fracture and brain damage in a bar-room melee between Sigma Chi fraternity brothers and members of a wedding party. The 6-3 majority ruled that the owners of the Grandstand Bar in the Del Lago resort on Lake Conroe owed the man a duty to protect him after 90 minutes of cursing, shouting, and shoving between the two groups. Del Lago Partners, Inc. v. Smith, No. 06-1022 (Tex. Apr. 2, 2010).
Alcohol played a role.
Justice Willett wrote the Court's opinion. Chief Justice Jefferson and Justices Green, Guzman, Medina, and O'Neill agreed with him.
Justice Hecht wrote a dissent, in which Justice Johnson joined. Justice Johnson dissented separately, as did Justice Wainwright. Justice Hecht also joined in the Johnson dissent.