Corpus Christi nightclub must pay $18 million in lawsuit over deadly drunk driving crash

by John Chapman

In June 2011, Jonathan Palacios spent an evening drinking at Cabaret and Pocket’s Billiards, two bars in Corpus Christi, Texas. Later, while driving the wrong way on North Padre Island Drive, Palacios crashed head-on into another car driven by 18-year-old Bryant Hernandez. The accident killed both drivers.

The Hernandez family sued the bars claiming they over-served Palacios. During trial, friends of Palacios testified about a night of drinking that included rounds of beers and shots. Police say test results showed Palacios had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream.

A former bartender at Pockets Billiard’s has said her bosses told her to continue serving Palacios. The lawsuit alleged that a bouncer from one of the bars even escorted Palacios to his car before allowing him to get behind the wheel.

A jury has now returned an $18.75 million verdict to the family of Bryant Hernandez in a judgment against the Cabaret of Corpus Christi. Pockets Billiards previously settled out of court.

If you or someone you know has been injured or if you lost a loved one as a result of a drunk driver, a club, bar or restaurant may be partially responsible. You need an experienced and knowledgeable law firm that can guide you through the legal process and obtain maximum compensation on your behalf. Our lawyers approach every case with the assumption it will be tried to a jury. Whether it’s hiring the right experts, obtaining the necessary records, interviewing the key witnesses or helping our clients get the medical care they need, our meticulous attention to detail ensures that our clients achieve maximum value for their claim.

In addition, Heygood, Orr & Pearson is AV-rated, the highest legal and ethical rating available from the leading law firm rating service. Our partners Michael Heygood, Jim Orr, and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Heygood and Mr. Orr are additionally Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our partners been voted by their peers as “Super Lawyers” in the state of Texas for several years in a row.*

Contact our attorneys for a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free case evaluation form located on this page.


Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2013.

by John Chapman

John Chapman is a licensed attorney with experience in complex commercial litigation (including securities fraud, RICO, shareholder oppression, and derivative actions) and personal injury litigation.