If you’ve been following the wrongful death lawsuit against former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips, you probably have already seen the article from the Dallas Morning News announcing that the Phillips family has settled with the Kings for an undisclosed amount.
A quick recap: the King family filed suit against the Phillips in August 2010 after their daughter, Audrey, died in a horrific single-vehicle accident. Audrey, 17 years old, had been attending a party at Tom Phillips’ home hosted by his then-20 year old son where alcohol was being freely served to attendees of all ages. She left with another intoxicated teenager, and their car veered off rural Waugh Way Road in Bastrop, TX and struck a tree – killing Audrey.
Reportedly, this wasn’t the first party at Tom Phillips’ that underage drinking occurred. The Kings accused the Phillips family of knowingly serving alcohol to minors on multiple occasions. The Phillipses have publicly denied they knew that sort of behavior was being engaged in at their home. According to the suit, however, this is not the case. Allegedly, Daniel Phillips’ mother forced Audrey and other reportedly intoxicated minors to leave the house because they were too loud. Soon after, Audrey was in the wreck that ended her life.
It’s important to note that guilt in this case was not decided by a jury. The case settled in mediation (the way many car accident lawsuits are), which means there was no official judgment about whether the Phillipses are guilty of gross negligence or not.
The King family is pursuing multiple lawsuits in their daughter’s death. The suit against the Phillipses cited TABC civil code 2.02 which makes it illegal for an individual over the age of 21 to knowingly serve alcohol that leads to a minor’s intoxication while on his or her property. Other lawsuits filed are against the Beverage Barn and the Country Corner convenience stores for their roles in selling alcohol to visibly intoxicated minors.