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Victim's Family Sues Gabrielle Nestande In Austin Deadly Hit And Run
The family of Courtney Griffin has filed a lawsuit against the women convicted of hitting and killing Griffin as she walked in West Austin in 2011.
“It seems the results of the criminal case are a slap on the wrist and Gabrielle Nestande got away with something she shouldn't have,” said Attorney Suzanne Kaplan, who is representing Griffin in the civil lawsuit. “It's not safe for people in Austin to know you can kill someone and get away with it.”
Kaplan said they’re not only going after Nestande. The lawsuit also holds Clive Bar responsible, where the lawsuit claims Nestande drank excessively with friends before getting behind the wheel.
“They called her sloppy drunk,” Kaplan said about at least three witnesses. “”We need to make sure bars know it's not ok to violate that law.”
Texas law prohibits bartenders from serving a visibly intoxicated adult.
Kaplan's firm has experience with hit and run cases. It's also representing Kylie Doniak, the UT soccer star left with severe brain damage after a hit and run accident in Downtown Austin.
“There are too many cases like that where someone who represents Austin in such a wonderful way is tragically killed because a bar chooses to over serve them and the driver decides to get behind the wheel,” Kaplan said.
In February, a Travis County jury convicted Gabrielle Nestande of criminally negligent homicide. Jurors recommended that she receive probation. They rejected higher charges of intoxication manslaughter and manslaughter.
In May 2011, a homeowner found Griffin's body on Exposition Boulevard near Enfield Road in Tarrytown.
During her trial, Nestande admitted drinking at several bars that night but said that she was not drunk. Nestande testified she thought a rock hit her windshield. She did not stay at the scene.
The suit claims gross negligence and is seeking damages in excess of $1,000,000.
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