Lyons & Simmons Secures Maximum Settlement Against Now-Shuttered Bar for Overserving Patron

‘No bar tab is worth more than a husband making it home to his wife’

DALLAS – The attorneys of the trial firm Lyons & Simmons, LLP have secured a seven-figure settlement for the widow of a Wylie man killed in 2022 by a drunk driver who had been significantly overserved at a now-closed Garland bar.

Michael James “MJ” Jackson, 41, a Director of Technology with AT&T, was killed Aug. 13, 2022, when a drunk driver traveling the wrong way on the President George Bush Turnpike struck him nearly head on.

Although the North Texas Tollway Authority’s wrong-way detection system had registered the movements of the drunk driver’s vehicle, she collided with MJ’s car, killing them both, before she could be intercepted. The drunk driver was later determined to have had a blood alcohol level of more than double the legal limit of intoxication.

“Given the location of the crash, investigating officers suspected the driver had come from a bar well known to the Garland Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for its history of alcohol-fueled violence and overserving patrons – including minors,” said Lyons & Simmons’ Stephen Higdon, attorney for MJ’s widow, Wendy.

According to the lawsuit, the drunk driver was served a multitude of oversized shots and mixed drinks in just three hours at Pete’s Burgers, Wings & Drinks in Garland’s Firewheel Town Center. Although the bar’s surveillance footage showed obvious signs of her intoxication, Pete’s continued to serve her until last call. As she stumbled out the door, she passed several employees – including the owner of Pete’s – but none moved to stop her, allowing her to climb behind the wheel of her car and leave.

The seven-figure settlement reached on Oct. 17, 2023, represented the maximum available under the business’s insurance policy. Pete’s closed permanently just weeks later and acknowledged in a social media post that increased insurance premiums led to its closing.

“The most gratifying result of this case for Wendy is not the monetary settlement but that it set into motion the closure of this bar. This was a completely senseless and preventable loss of life brought about by the irresponsible pursuit of profit,” said Higdon. “But no bar tab is worth more than a husband making it home to his wife.”

The lawsuit is Wendy Salazar v. DJames Food, Inc. d/b/a Pete’s Burgers, Wings & Drinks (Case No. CC-22-07120-A in Dallas County Court at Law No. 1.)

About Lyons & Simmons LLP

Dallas-based Lyons & Simmons, LLP is a trial boutique representing clients in wrongful death, personal injury, products liability and complex “bet-the-company” business litigation matters across the country.

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