Homeowner accused of allowing intoxicated guest to drown answers suit

By David Yates | Sep 25, 2012

A woman accused of allowing an intoxicated man to drown in her pond has answered the lawsuit against her.

More than two years ago, Travis Lee Meadows showed up to the home of Patsy Hanchett intoxicated. After having a few more drinks, he jumped into the woman’s pond around midnight and drowned.

Acting as temporary administrator of Meadows’ estate, Beaumont attorney Justin Sanderson, who is also the son of 60th District Judge Gary Sanderson, filed suit against Hanchett on July 2 in Jefferson County District Court, alleging the 47-year-old drowning victim should have been warned of the dangers of swimming intoxicated.

Court records show Hanchett answered the suit on Aug. 23, asserting a general denial and asking that the court require the plaintiff to prove every element of his cause.

She is asking that the plaintiff take nothing and that she recover court costs.

The lawsuit states on July 2, 2010, Meadows was a guest at Hanchett’s Beaumont home. He had been drinking alcohol and/or taking drugs prior to his arrival and continued to drink while at the defendant’s residence, the suit states.

“Decedent was then allowed to go swimming in defendant’s pond, where he drowned shortly after getting in,” the suit states.

The suit continues by asserting Hanchett negligently failed to warn Meadows of the dangerous condition, failed to supervise him and negligently allowed an intoxicated individual to utilize the pond.

Sanderson is suing for wrongful death damages, including loss of companionship and extreme grief.

Adam Terrell of Weller, Green, Toups and Terrell in Beaumont represents him.

Germer Gertz attorney Karen Bennett of Beaumont represents the defendant.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. E192-644

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