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Brennan’s Responds to $20 Million Sexual Assault Lawsuit By Denying All Claims of Liability

A trial date has not yet been set

brennan’s whole snapper
brennan’s whole snapper
Brennan’s of Houston [Official Photo]

Brennan’s of Houston has officially responded to the allegations in a lawsuit filed by an anonymous plaintiff named Jane Doe alleged that a former Brennan’s of Houston bartender drugged a woman’s drink, then took her to her home and sexually assaulted her.

In an answer filed with the Harris County District Court on February 12, Brennan’s of Houston generally denies all the claims in Jane Doe’s lawsuit. The company’s attorney also requested a trial by jury. The filing does not dispute that the assault occurred, but asserts that the company is not liable for what happened to her.

The company’s response is a scant two pages compared with the 12 pages of excruciating detail in Jane Doe’s complaint, in which she alleged that former Brennan’s bartender Sean Kerrigan, now deceased, drugged her drink at the restaurant, continued to serve her alcohol, and then raped her multiple times over the course of several hours. The suit also names Brennan’s manager Chris Lockhart, who was allegedly captured on surveillance footage taking the victim out of the restaurant.

Jane Doe’s lawsuit further alleges that Kerrigan and Lockhart stole money and prescription medicine from her purse, and that Lockhart “aided and abetted the rape and attempted continuation of the assault the next morning.” In July, Kerrigan was indicted in Harris County on charges of felony sexual assault, but died in November, before he could be tried.

After the lawsuit filed by plaintiff’s attorney Anthony Buzbee in January, Brennan’s issued a lengthy statement publicly denying that it is liable for what happened to Jane Doe. The company claims that it fired both employees “in part because of the allegation,” and that Jane Doe absolved Brennan’s of Houston in an email. Read an excerpt from the restaurant’s statement here:

In 2017, Ms. Doe informed Brennan’s management via email that she would be pressing charges against one of the employees and asked Brennan’s to cooperate with the Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney, both of which we did fully. In the same email correspondence, she thanked Mr. Brennan-Martin for his “swift action” and expressly stated that Brennan’s was “not at fault.”

One important thing to note about Brennan’s response is that the company only issued a general denial to Jane Doe’s claims, and did not announce its intent to pursue any “affirmative defenses.” Which means that the company now does not have the ability to introduce additional evidence that would mitigate or negate their liability in the lawsuit. According to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Brennan’s of Houston would have had to introduce those affirmative defenses, like claiming that the plaintiff had some responsibility to mitigate the damages, in their initial answer to the court.

The court has not yet set a trial date. Stay tuned for more updates.

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