Katy Trail Ice House Outpost Sued for Allegedly Over-Serving Two Patrons, One of Whom Ended Up Dead

Categories: Legal Battles

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Drriss & Marrionn

Over the course of four hours, the Katy Trail Ice House Outpost in Plano served Benjamin Crosby and Joe Grams the equivalent of 43 alcoholic drinks, a lawsuit filed in Dallas district court on Thursday claims.

Robert and Cheryl Crosby, Benjamin Crosby's parents, say that the ice house did this even though the pair obviously was drunk.

Section 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code says that an establishment serving alcohol can be held liable when it serves someone who is "obviously intoxicated to the
extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others."

After last call, the Crosbys say Grams gave his keys to their son, who left the bar with Grams' car while Gram was settling his tab. He sped up the Dallas North Tollway, ran a red light and collided with a westbound 18 wheeler on Highway 380. Crosby was killed. His blood-alcohol level was 0.27, more than three times the legal limit.

Robert and Cheryl Crosby are suing Grams for letting their son drive and Katy Trail Ice House for continuing to serve the duo and for allowing their son to leave the bar's parking lot behind the wheel. They are seeking more than $1 million in damages.

As of this Thursday afternoon, neither Katy Trail Ice House Outpost nor Grams had been served with the lawsuit. Buddy Cramer, a lawyer for the Outpost, declined to comment.

Katy Trail Ice House Lawsuit



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81 comments
kristen.schoellhorn
kristen.schoellhorn

While the Ice House shouldn't have served him nor should his "friend" had let him drive, how about these parents take some of the responsibility and admit that at the end of the day, their son made all those decisions. Their son choose to drink too much. Their son choose to drive a car while drunk. Sue yourself for being bad parents or come to terms that your sun had just as much responsibility and more than any other party around. This is whats wrong with our society. Always wanting to blame someone else and never admitting their children are just spoiled brats. Shame on you parents!!!

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

I frequently run near the KTIO, and Plano PD are all over all the time. How in the world did he get to 75 without being stopped?

It's a 30 minute, at least, drive from the KTIO to the Tollway/380 and still not an officer to be found?

Alcohol effects people differently, but one can barely function long before reaching .27. How is it even possible to consume that much alcohol that quickly without throwing it up? And not being noticed by all staff and patrons? Failure at many points.

angelad66
angelad66

Meanwhile on other news reports "TABC investigators found that the Outpost had over-served on that night, and levied a 55-day ban against it"

This establishment has a responsibility to the community by law. I will never give them my business again.

MissMacy
MissMacy

It's actually quite an accepted fact that bars are considered responsible for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated customers. This lawsuit doesn't surprise me at all. A customer can't be expected to demonstrate "personal responsiblity" when he's staggering and drunk. The bar is supposed to cut him off and call a taxi.

cajunscouse9
cajunscouse9

Personal responsibility is apparently a thing of the past.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

There is a great deal missing from the story as represented to the Dallas Observer.



And, despite the few posts critical of the Katy Trail Ice House Outpost employees, the restaurants also employs independent car parking services who know to look out for drunks, and withhold their keys. 


With a restaurant that is ON The Katy Trail and has access from the trail for people who are on foot or bicycling, servers have no idea whether someone walked there, biked there, came in a car there, or were dropped in by parachute. 


We need to make people responsible for their own behavior, and their parents responsible if their kids are not.

pak152
pak152

one would think that a news story would at least tell us the ages of the "victims"

oaklawnmassage
oaklawnmassage

When are people going to be responsible for their own actions. If I get drunk and drive, it;s my fault.

ooozooo
ooozooo

You should probably change the story to say " He allegedly sped up the Dallas North Tollway, and allegedly ran a red light and collided with a westbound 18 wheeler on Highway 380."  You know, before you get sued too.  

srh1289
srh1289

While I thinks Grams was irresponsible in giving Crosby the keys, their son ultimately chose to make that poor choice. The bar however, should be held partially if not fully accountable. Even if the two men were drunk prior to entering Katy Trail, continuing to serve and/or over serving them is the bars responsibility.For the people saying the parents are only looking for money: even if that is true, the parents lost their child. Think about that.

J_A_
J_A_

Katy Trail Ice House Outpost. Try to say that three times fast

Mervis
Mervis

 "Although his lack of care was the obvious result of KTIH’s over-service, GRAMS should not have given the keys to CROSBY or allowed him to operate the vehicle in his (their) inebriated condition."

I get the KTIH over service part but how does drunk Grams' bad decision outweigh drunk Crosby's bad decision?

fred.garvin.mp.713
fred.garvin.mp.713

I can see the suit against Katy Trail Ice House, as there's at least a statute on the books. But suing Grams because he was too drunk yet of sound mind to hand his keys over to his buddy who was equally drunk but not of sound mind...the defense is going to tear that up.

kfries1
kfries1

Sounds like the drunk stole the other drunk's car. Did he get a citation for littering?

c.huxtable85
c.huxtable85

hey my kid was an irresponsible dipshit! I'm gonna sue someone!


take some personal responsibility and go fuck yourselves!

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

no wonder their kid turned into a drunken fucktard..and "grams" seriously best uptown douche dallas name ever

hotdogthatshit
hotdogthatshit

Hope the 18 wheeler driver sues the family for emotional distress and pain that he will have to carry for the rest of his life after their dumb ass kid got drunk and rammed a car into him.  Sorry for their loss but nobody is to blame here but the binge drinking son.

Threeboys
Threeboys

Bartenders and servers have to take a course to become certified by TABC to serve. Part of that course is being able to identify intoxicated patrons. That certification helps the venue a bit with liability, pushing it on the server as someone who should have been able to identify the drunk and cut them off.

Even without the course any server or bartender can identify someone with a .27 as drunk and should have cut them off way before it got to that.

gilliansage
gilliansage

People sure are sue happy. I believe thats part of the reason our insurance rates are so high. Everyone's trying to sue to get easy money. Friend tripped over a garden hose, broke her finger, sued the apartments that left the hose out. Thousands of dollars wasted just because she was clumsy and didn't look where she was going. Who in the end actually pays? We do, when the rates go up. Insurance companies got to make their money back some how. In this case who's going to pay? That's right, us again when our rates go up. No one wants to take responsibility for their own actions anymore when they can get free money out of it. Sad to hear someone died, sad to think he wasn't taught to be responsible for his own actions. 

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@CheeryBitch On a crowded summer Saturday night, it's generally not even possible to order that many drinks in four hours at either Ice Houses - and especially appear unimpaired ordering each round. 

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@angelad66 In terms of TABC, what actually happened is TABC found that particular bar/restaurant culpable in over-serving the moron who killed himself.  They gave that establishment a choice:  either close for 55 days, or pay a $300 per day for the 55 days, or about $60,000 bucks.  If that doesn't sound like a shakedown, I don't know what does.


I do know that the girl who was their waitress needs to fired as an example to others.  It's just too bad she probably wouldn't be worth the money to sue.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@angelad66 I'm curious whether this is ongoing flagrant conduct that has produced a number of accidents or arrests, or whether this is a "once in a Blue Moon" occurrence. 

Given the enormous popularity of their establishments, I'm honestly surprised it doesn't happen more.  But, that is likely due to their ongoing serious efforts to prevent those kinds of problems.

There's only so much you can do to save careless and irresponsible people from themselves.   

MarkO
MarkO

@MissMacy I agree MissMacy, and if most of the commentors would take the time to read the laws concerning establishments that apply for a liquor license and what these establishments agree to in order to serve alcohol they would understand. While we do not know all the details it this point is sounds like the Ice House might be shutting down soon.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@MissMacy The Katy Trail Icehouses do this.  But, read the suit, and you see that 43 drinks is an "equivalent"; not a fact.  Given how busy the restaurant/bar is, it would take days to consume 43 drinks.  And, to their credit, both restaurants have menus on every table, and servers are skilled at watching for people who have not eaten who appear to be getting drunk. 


Unless I'm being waterboarded, I am the only personal responsible for what liquids I consume.  If I have too many drinks, and assault someone on the street, I am automatically guilty.  But, if I assault someone with a car, the bar is held liable?  How much sense does that make???


Buddy Cramer is not only an excellent restauranteur, but he is also an attorney.  So, he knows better than most what the laws are, and what he needs to do to protect his patrons as well as the interests of his businesses.


I don't see any evidence that the driver was either staggering or OBVIOUSLY drunk.  (I know people who are unsteady after two drinks, and people who can have several drinks and still appear perfectly sober. )


If the Katy Trail Icehouses had a long record of this kind of thing; that would be one thing.  But, they have shown due diligence in having served as many patrons at Buddy Cramer's restaurants without incident.

gmit
gmit

@oaklawnmassage But what all you guys are missing is that at a certain point it it also becomes the responsibillity of others. The license holder is also liable for your actions. So its an in addition to your personal responsibility the establishment also is on the hook, and their insurance company can start paying out too. 


Its written into the liquor code, and its part of the business and part of the premiums they pay for insurance, just part of the reason a drink out costs 10x what that same drink poured at you house

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@ooozooo There are NO RED LIGHTS on the Tollroad, and certainly not any such intersections with East-West traffic.


I have never been at the Katy Trail Icehouse and seen seriously drunk patrons there.  And, the waitresses are quite good at monitoring alcohol consumption without being annoying. 


Buddy Cramer the owner and hands-on operator of the Katy Trail restaurant/bars, also has other restaurants, and all of them have excellent food, reasonably-priced beverages, responsible employees, and even independent parking services who employees also monitor people claiming their cars. 



I'm sorry for the death of this man, and empathize with his parents.  But, HE was the architect of his own death by knowing over-consuming too much alcohol, and then driving. 


People need to be responsible for their own actions, and mistakes. This one is NOT the fault of the management and employees of the Katy Trail.

Mervis
Mervis

@ooozooo That is a direct quote from the petition that you can read just above here.

Mervis
Mervis

@srh1289 Not be callous but the kid drove at high speed while he was heavily inebriated.

Blame can be placed all around but ultimately it was this choice that did him.

dcast94
dcast94

@Mervis It almost sounds like the one guy took the keys and went to wait in the car, then decided to just drive on his own. I'm sure the plan wasn't to leave the car owner there?

angelad66
angelad66

Interesting you bring up that point. How we would know that this conduct wasn't/isn't a habit of this establishment? Perhaps this incident just brought it to light for all of us.

You are correct. There's only so much anyone can do but we HAVE to rely on the establishment to do their part. It's apparent they did not. Collected receipts proved the point to TABC investigators.

edwilley3
edwilley3

@noblefurrtexas I'm sorry for all concerned and I certainly don't know or have any ill will toward Mr. Cramer as a personal matter,  but a BAC of .27 is at or close to the point of causing death. Unless one of us was there to witness the events, we don't know how Grams or Crosby were behaving. Regardless, what we do know is that a BAC of .27 is indicative of more than 10 drinks in 4 hours, which already suggests a person is going to be driving over the limit. According to one resource, if a 200 pound man consumed 10 drinks in 4 hours, his BAC is going to be about .13, taking into account metabolism of the alcohol during that timeframe. If we throw in some margin of error, he's still going to be over .10, which is well over the legal limit to drive. To achieve an effective BAC of .27 at the time he was tested, and assuming he actually drank for 4 hours and spent some time driving up the DNT before the wreck and the police arrived on scene, there is no possibility he had less than 20 drink equivalents. This comes down to math and biology, not guesses from the peanut gallery. And to be honest, there is virtually no way a person who consumed enough alcohol to test .27 would NOT have appeared to be intoxicated. It's just not possible. Again, I'm sorry for the all involved, but Grams was over-served, period.


Per Clemson University, here's what happens at .20:


"You may feel confused, dazed or otherwise disoriented. You need help to stand up or walk. If you hurt yourself at this point, you probably won’t realize it because you won’t feel pain. Even if you are aware that you’ve injured yourself, you probably won’t do anything about it. At this point you may experience nausea and start vomiting. Your gag reflex is impaired, so you could choke if you throw up. Since blackouts are likely at this level, you may not remember any of this."

I've had multiple friends nearly killed by drunk drivers. They've undergone years of surgeries and pain. We should not let our feelings get in the way of the facts here. 

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@davidgrelle1 @noblefurrtexas I understand.  But, the policies at both are identical with the exception of the Trail.  In Plano, there are still people who walk there from their apartments or jobs. 


Both also have contract parking operators, and frequently have police officers on duty. 


I don't know what more you can do than give everyone a breathalyzer to get their keys.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@gmit @oaklawnmassage Here's the problem:  I can go into any liquor store, order two fifths of Vodka, pay for it, go back to the parking lot, drink both bottles, and wipe out a bus load of people.  But, the liqor store isn't going to hear a word about it, much less be sued. 


When I go to a bar, and I have a waitress who's just barely 21, all she does is take my order, tell bartender, and deliver it to me.  She's certainly not medically qualified to accurately measure how much alcohol I have consumed. And, I may have consumed alcohol at the bar of that establishment, or had drinks somewhere else before coming there. 


My complaint is that in our lawsuit happy society, it seems someone else is also responsible....depending on who has the deepest pockets. 


Since I'm the only one responsible for how much alcohol I consume, then why is were I purchased it an issue?

edwilley3
edwilley3

@noblefurrtexas  I'm sorry, again, to have to reply to you, but the law is quite clear. The people of the State of Texas, acting through their legislature, have made the establishment that over-served individuals liable for such conduct. I understand your point that people generally should be responsible for their own conduct, but it is generally accepted medically that a person who consumes as much as these two gentlemen appear to have consumed are no longer able to exercise proper judgment. (Grams' attorney will no doubt argue that no person who was as drunk as he at that time could have made a better decision.) It then becomes the duty of the establishment to stop service of alcohol. Based on the sheer egregious BAC tested in Crosby, it is an inescapable conclusion that Crosby consumed more than 10 drinks in that timeframe. At that level, Crosby was not fit to drive per the laws that govern you, me, and everyone else reading this. If you don't like it, you will need to leave the USA, as all 50 states have some similar law at this point, I think.


If you have some credible source that would show how a person with a BAC sufficient to cause DEATH to a grown man would NOT substantially impair the physical abilities, please feel free to cite them. I'd like to see them. Let's put this into perspective. A BAC of .35 is equivalent to ***surgical anesthesia***. At .30, a person is likely to be a stupor and may pass out. If both Grams and Crosby had a similar BAC of over .27, they probably could not stand up straight, their speech was slurred, they may have dropped the keys will trying to open the car, etc. Would you want your child being served to this point?


Noble, do you have some association with Mr. Cramer? If so, please disclose who you are. Otherwise, I can't help but feel that you have some interest in this situation other than being a casual bystander. Are you the bartender? Manager? Co-owner? Friend of Mr. Cramer? Let's stop playing games. Again, for clarity, I am not trying to vilify Mr. Cramer or his staff. I was not a witness. However, the facts of the BAC do speak for themselves.

What mystifies me is that per some other posts online you appear to be a conservative. Why is compliance with a well established law that is similar to laws across the nation not fair or appropriate in this case?



banepage
banepage

@noblefurrtexas @ooozooo there is a red light at 380. Its the end of the tollway. This intersection is constantly manned by police..just beware.

kfries1
kfries1

@dcast94 @Mervis That's exactly what I was thinking. I want to see this bar bill. We also haven't heard the KTIH side of this. 


gilliansage
gilliansage

@c.huxtable85 @gilliansage Actually no, she's still my friend. Oddly enough she's now going to college to be a....lawyer. Guess she figured out she cut out the middle man and sue people herself.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@angelad66 Why aren't the parents of the dead boy substantially at fault for having done a lousy job of parenting?  That's the first bad link in the chain.

Mervis
Mervis

@angelad66 I'll throw one devil's advocate scenario at you.

The other night I was out for a few drinks. Another of the regulars came in and ordered a cocktail. We talked for a bit, she had another and all of the sudden she was over the edge. Obviously had been somewhere else but these last 2 put her over. Is that the last bartenders' fault? She did start questioning but at that point it's too late and then it turns into the cab calling thing.

This is a tough situation for bars. I am not defending KTIH on this either because there seems to be some proof.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@edwilley3 @noblefurrtexas 

@edwilley3 @noblefurrtexas I am sincerely curious why you seem to consign all of the blame on the establishment, and none on the patron who decided on THAT bar/restaurant, decided WHAT to drink, decided how many to drink, ordered the drinks, and was able to pay for them. 

** As well, it was his friend who gave him the car keys; not the bar.  So, that would seem to make him mostly culpable. **


I couldn't agree more with the policy of asking bars and restaurants to be watchful of patrons drinking too much.  Nobody wants a customer being injured or killed, or doing that to someone else. But, there is also a "reasonableness test" that should also be applied.


These boys apparently did NOT use the parking service, so the final safety feature of the establishment did not come into play. An establishment simply cannot force patrons to use their parking service, and doing so would guarantee customers would make other choices of where to go. 


I know the Buddy Cramer's restaurants closely follow the law when it comes to checking age on IDs - more so than most, and that they watch for one patron over the legal age to order alcohol ordering drinks for underage people at the same table. 



Finally, the lawsuit contains a substantial error.  While it claims, as the story says, the bar if responsible for "allowing their son to leave the bar's parking lot behind the wheel. They are seeking more than $1 million in damages.".  That didn't happen. 


If the other boy really handed the deceased his car keys that night, then it means his car was not in the parking lot being handled by the car parkers.  Car parking services KEEP the keys on a board in the stand. 

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@edwilley3 @noblefurrtexas I am sincerely curious why you seem to consign all of the blame on the establishment, and none on the patron who decided on THAT bar/restaurant, decided WHAT to drink, decided how many to drink, ordered the drinks, and was able to pay for them. 

** As well, it was his friend who gave him the car keys; not the bar.  So, that would seem to make him mostly culpable. **


I couldn't agree more with the policy of asking bars and restaurants to be watchful of patrons drinking too much.  Nobody wants a customer being injured or killed, or doing that to someone else. But, there is also a "reasonableness test" that should also be applied.


These boys apparently did NOT use the parking service, so the final safety feature of the establishment did not come into play. An establishment simply cannot force patrons to use their parking service, and doing so would guarantee customers would make other choices of where to go. 


I know the Buddy Cramer's restaurants closely follow the law when it comes to checking age on IDs - more so than most, and that they watch for one patron over the legal age to order alcohol ordering drinks for underage people at the same table. 



Finally, the lawsuit contains a substantial error.  While it claims, as the story says, the bar if responsible for "allowing their son to leave the bar's parking lot behind the wheel. They are seeking more than $1 million in damages.".  That didn't happen. 


If the other boy really handed the deceased his car keys that night, then it means his car was not in the parking lot being handled by the car parkers.  Car parking services KEEP the keys on a board in the stand. 

kristen.schoellhorn
kristen.schoellhorn

@noblefurrtexas @davidgrelle1 I dunno, maybe have parents teach their kids responsibility? How dare these parents sue everyone else involved. They need to take a look in the mirror and see what parenting skills, or lack there of, would lead to a child choosing to make so many stupid mistakes. Not just throw a lawsuit out there and expect a pity party.

kristen.schoellhorn
kristen.schoellhorn

@edwilley3 @noblefurrtexas Yes, you're right. That's what the law says. I'm sure you agree and abide by every law ever written? Don't be stupid. It's his responsibility to be in charge of himself. Shame on the parents for not seeing that and shame on you for continuing encouraging the behavior.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@edwilley3 @noblefurrtexas "...
Noble, do you have some association with Mr. Cramer? If so, please disclose who you are. Otherwise, I can't help but feel that you have some interest in this situation other than being a casual bystander...."

Ed, I am a long-time customer, and that's it.  I have no official or unofficial association either with Mr. Cramer or any of his interests. 

However, I have had one good friend who killed himself in a car accident where he was drunk, and another who was seriously injured by a drunk driver.  So, I have a long-term interest in this topic. 

In almost any other area of law, a person who disables himself can hardly claim it is the fault of someone else.  A good example of that is firearms or dangerous tools with adequate warnings.  

I am also a fan of personal responsibility.  If I have too much to drink and drive home on a high-speed freeway like the tollway, the first person responsible is me.  

I'm also not a fan of projected liability lawsuits - especially for my children.  They have been taught, almost since birth, that they are responsible for what they do or decide NOT to do.  

That said, I'm also a fan of BAC devices on cars in order to drive them.  But, what car manufacturer wants the certain liability for not only raising the prices of their cars, but taking partial responsibility if their product is involved in a drunk-driving accident. 

I fully confess to being conservative.  My interest in this, besides being a patron who wants them to stay in business, is preventing more lawsuits that project responsibility to others  rather than the actor.  

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@banepage @noblefurrtexas @ooozooo 

I don't believe that intersection is considered part of the tollway, or maintained by the NTTA. 

I also agree about the police frequently monitoring that intersection.    

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@Mervis @angelad66 I'm still very skeptical of the story the surviving boy told.  It 's virtually impossible on a Saturday night at the Ice Houses to get that many drinks per hour.  The places are seriously crowded.

edwilley3
edwilley3

@kristen.schoellhorn @edwilley3 @noblefurrtexas On what basis should a bar have no responsibility for serving someone enough drinks to kill a person? It is well accepted idea in the law of torts that an event may have multiple causes giving rise to liability. If, for example, one driver is acting dangerously and another driver is also acting dangerously thus leading to a collision, the law does not use the conduct of one part to excuse the conduct of the other. I don't think anyone is trying to excuse the conduct of the deceased or his friend. Clearly they drank way too much. However their own negligence does not cancel the negligence of the other party (bar). The comparison to firearms is an interesting one, but ultimately it fails, I believe, due to the material differences between the cases. A better comparison to the purchase of a firearm would be the purchase of a bottle of vodka at Goody Goody. Clearly the package store and distiller would have no liability, provided that the product was actually as advertised on the label and was not contaminated in some way.


Noble, I do actually appreciate your thoughtful response even though we disagree. I'm sure that you have taught your children to be thoughtful as well and I'm sorry that you've lost friends due to drunk driving.


By the way, Kristen, your form of argument is valid ab initio. It's a classic error, so don't feel bad if you don't understand why it's an error. I'm sure that someone else would be glad to explain it to you.

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