Judge Upholds $27 Million Verdict Against College Station McDonald’s

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BRYAN, Texas - A judge will not overturn the $27 million verdict against McDonald’s following the 2012 deaths of two Blinn College students.

Denton Ward, 18 and Lauren Crisp, 19, stopped to eat at the McDonald's off University Drive in College Station. Surveillance video showed the restaurant was packed that night.

A fight broke out and Ward, according to witnesses, was nearly beaten to death by around 20 people in the parking lot.

Crisp and a friend tried to rush Denton to the hospital. Ward and Crisp were killed in a crash when the driver ran a red light at Texas Avenue and Holleman.

Their parents filed a civil lawsuit claiming the deaths could have been avoided if McDonald’s had hired security guards to prevent the fights that had happened there regularly over the past year.

Friday, attorneys for McDonalds argued Samantha Bean, the friend who drove the car, acted recklessly and was ultimately responsible. The other side fought back, arguing Bean was responding to an immediate danger.

Then the arguments turned back to the lack of police presence. Attorneys for McDonalds argued that even if an officer or security guard had been there that night, there's no way to know if that would have made a difference.

Judge Steve Smith disagreed, pointing to testimony from Marcus Jones, the person accused of throwing the first punch. During the trial, Jones said he would not have started the fight had he seen an officer.