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Dallas Jury Awards $10.5 Million Verdict Against Strip Club, Intoxicated Driver

DALLAS, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys from Dallas' The Schmidt Firm, LLP, won a $10.5 million dram shop verdict late yesterday against the Spearmint Rhino strip club and an intoxicated driver following a 2011 accident that claimed the life of a Granbury woman who was crushed under the wheels of a so-called "monster truck."

The Schmidt Firm attorneys Michael E. Schmidt, C.L. "Mike" Schmidt and James Holmes and Dallas lawyer Amanda Schwartz successfully represented the family of Kasey McKenzie, who was 23 years old at the time of her death. Jurors in Judge Martin Lowy's 101 st District Court in Dallas deliberated for approximately three hours before reaching their unanimous verdict on Feb. 19, 2013. According to records maintained by VerdictSearch, the $10.5 million award represents the largest dram shop verdict awarded in Dallas County since 1985.

"On behalf of Kasey's parents and her entire family, I want to thank the court and the jury for holding the Spearmint Rhino and Mr. Crutchfield responsible for causing Kasey's senseless death," says Michael Schmidt, lead trial counsel for Ms. McKenzie's family. " Dallas is home to far too many alcohol-related traffic deaths, and Kasey's family hopes this case will influence other businesses to protect the public by preventing drunk customers from getting behind the wheel."

On March 17, 2011, Ms. McKenzie was walking through the parking lot at the Spearmint Rhino club on Composite Drive when she was struck and killed by a "monster truck" driven by Eric Brent Crutchfield of Dallas, who was 27 years old at the time. Evidence at the trial, including security camera footage, showed that Mr. Crutchfield was served more than 10 mixed drinks and shots during a four-hour period immediately prior to the fatal accident.

Mr. Crutchfield was convicted of manslaughter, and currently is serving a 10-year sentence for Ms. McKenzie's death and an earlier drug-related charge at the Mineral Wells Unit. Jurors in Judge Lowy's courtroom assessed 70 percent responsibility against Spearmint Rhino and 30 percent against Mr. Crutchfield.

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