After more than a year of litigation, longtime Houston restaurant Brennan’s has reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed in 2019 by an attorney who alleged that a former Brennan’s employee sexually assaulted her.
The parties came to an undisclosed settlement agreement this week, and the case has officially been dismissed in the Harris County District Court following a motion from the plaintiff. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court records, but Eater has reached out to the plaintiff’s attorney for more information on the outcome of the lawsuit.
The suit, filed in January 2019 by an anonymous plaintiff initially identified as Jane Doe, alleged that former Brennan’s bartender Sean Kerrigan drugged the plaintiff while she dined at the restaurant, then took Jane Doe to her home and repeatedly assaulted her over the course of several hours. The suit also alleges that Kerrigan stole prescription drugs and other items from her home.
Kerrigan, who was indicted on charges of felony sexual assault related to the incident, died last year before either the criminal or civil cases could be adjudicated. A second former employee, manager Chris Lockhart, was also named in the suit after he was allegedly seen on surveillance video helping Kerrigan take Jane Doe out of the restaurant.
In its initial response to the lawsuit, Brennan’s of Houston denied all claims of liability. In court filings, the restaurant did not dispute that the assault had occurred, but argued that the restaurant wasn’t responsible for Kerrigan and Lockhart’s actions.
Shortly after the suit was filed, Houston attorney Jessica Crutcher came forward publicly as the plaintiff in this lawsuit, saying that her decision was inspired by the sexual assault victims she’d represented in court. “I’ve done a lot of pro bono work over the years where I have seen my clients, survivors of horrible violence, very bravely stand up for themselves,” Crutcher told Texas Lawyer in 2019. “I think I should be able to do the same thing here.”