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Texas: Hurricane Shelter Catches Fire

Counsel Financial

Plaintiff--husband and restaurant manager convinced his family to seek shelter from Hurricane Ike in his restaurant. As Hurricane Ike approached the Houston area, Plaintiff--wife went to the second floor of the restaurant to check on their sleeping four-year-old daughter. The wife noticed smoke coming out from under the door of an adjoining room. Plaintiff--husband, upon hearing his wife yell for help, went to rescue his already severely burned child. Plaintiff--husband and child were rushed to the hospital for treatment of second and third degree burns to over 50% of their bodies. All three family members suffered severe emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident. Plaintiffs sued the restaurant for negligence in failing to ensure that the restaurant was safe from fire hazards, and for the restaurant's non-compliance with local fire codes. Plaintiffs also alleged that the restaurant failed to warn Plaintiffs of the unsafe conditions within. Defendant restaurant joined a construction company as a defendant to the proceedings, alleging that the company failed to install a sprinkler system as required under local fire codes.

SETTLEMENT: $12,200,000. Prior to trial Defendants agreed to give $6,000,000 to the injured child and the remainder to husband and wife; during trial the child's claim settled for $2,200,000.

James and Denise Koonce, individually, et al. v. Brennans of Houston, et al.