CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — 7-Eleven, Louie’s Backyard, and Laguna Bob are facing a lawsuit from the family of a child who died in a crash where her mother is accused of drunk driving.
An ongoing lawsuit in Cameron County court was brought forward by the grandmother of a child who died in a May 2020 crash in San Benito. The woman is seeking damage payouts for the death of the child as well as injuries suffered by two other people in the crash.
According to court documents, Maranda Longoria, 31, travelled to South Padre Island from McAllen with her sister, daughter, and niece on March 17, 2020.
Longoria and her sister visited Louie’s Backyard and Laguna Bob in South Padre Island and consumed alcohol, according to court documents. They were in an “an obviously intoxicated state” when moving from Louie’s Backyard and Laguna Bob, according to court records.
After leaving these establishments, they went to a convenience store owned by 7-Eleven and purchased more alcohol despite their intoxicated state.
On their way home, the group was involved in a car crash in the early morning hours of March 18, 2020 on West Expressway 77 in San Benito. Records indicate Longoria was driving and crashed her vehicle into a utility pole.
Longoria’s nine-year-old daughter died in the crash. Her sister and niece suffered injuries in the crash. Longoria’s sister’s injuries left her paralyzed and permanently disabled, according to court documents.
Following the crash, Longoria was charged with inxocation manslaughter, two counts of intoxication assault, and five other charges. She is currently in custody in Cameron County jail. A motion to schedule the trial for her charges is scheduled for May 2.
At the time of the crash, Longoria had previously been convicted of drug possession and assault charges in Hidalgo County. She is also facing two drivng while intoxicated charges from December 2019 and May 2020.
The lawsuit attempts to hold Louie’s Backyard, Laguna Bob, and 7-Eleven liable for negligently selling alcohol to Longoria and her sister despite their intoxicated state. They also cite the Dram Shop law as reasoning for their liability. The Dram Shop Law affirms that establishments that serve alcohol in Texas are liable if they serve alcoholic beverages to a customer who is obviously intoxicated at the time of a transaction.
This lawsuit does not list Longoria as a benefactor from possible damage payouts from these three companies. They assess in court documents that a jury will work out how much should be paid out to the injured victims.
All three entities that were sued have denied the allegations against them.
This litigation began in September 2020 and has stretched to April 2022 where each side of the case is filing separate motions. Most recently, the plaintiffs filed a motion to compel discovery respondes from Louie’s Backyard on Tuesday.
The three defendants are attempting to include a man, Randy Padilla, as a defendant in the lawsuit. According to a motion filed by the companies, Padilla was invited by Longoria to the SPI trip and brought alcoholic beverages to Longoria and provided her with copius amounts of alcohol.
Testimony released on April 11 reveals that another man was deemed the designated driver during the trip but gave up the keys to Longoria on their way home. He told the court that Padilla purchased alcohol for Longoria and her sister at the three establishments.
This case is set for jury tiral in September 2022.