BEAUMONT - A dram shop suit brought on behalf of Kristen Paris, the Nederland teen who was killed by a drunk driver three years ago, has been set for trial in September.
In March 2015, Beverly and Daniel Paris (Kristin’s parents) filed suit against the Beaumont company Rocklon LLC (Dream Street), Rocklon Kennedy and Thomas Sherlock in Jefferson County District Court.
Kennedy is a local businessman who owned Dream Street, a gentleman's club on Martin Luther King Boulevard. He was driving the vehicle that struck and killed Kristin, who was 18 years old at the time of her death.
Kennedy pled guilty to intoxicated manslaughter and was sentenced by a jury to eighteen years in prison.
Rocklon operates the bar in which the incident allegedly leading to Kristin’s death occurred. According to court documents, Kennedy was over-served alcohol, became intoxicated, and allegedly struck and killed Kristin while subsequently driving his vehicle on Jan. 26, 2015.
Sherlock, the bartender as well as the manager and part owner at the establishment, continued to serve Kennedy, even though, the suit maintains, he was aware that Kennedy was intoxicated.
Court records show the plaintiffs amended their petition twice, naming Ruston Ray Kennedy (Ruston) as a defendant and alleged violations of the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act against all defendants, including Rocklon.
The plaintiffs maintain Rocklon and Rockal are alter egos of Kennedy and that Ruston participated in liquidating the assets of Rocklon after the commencement of the lawsuit, using the proceeds for his personal benefit.
Kristin was driving on Interstate 10 when Kennedy entered the roadway against traffic, colliding with her vehicle. The victim was conscious and bleeding; however, she passed away in a hospital two days later.
Citing breach of duty and negligence, Beverly and Daniel Paris allege violation of state liquor law, claiming that the bar willfully over-serves its patrons. Apart from wrongful death, they also claim survival action, referring to their own mental anguish, medical expenses, and funeral and burial costs.
The plaintiffs seek actual, consequential, exemplary and punitive damages, plus attorney’s fees, expenses and costs.
They are represented by Kurt Arnold, J. Kyle Findley and Kala Flittner of Arnold and Itkin in Houston.
Judge Justin Sanderson, 60th District Court, is presiding over the case.
Case No. B-196826