UPDATE: Jury rules Hennen not at fault in wrongful death suit - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Jury rules Hennen not at fault in wrongful death suit

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Closing arguments were presented Wednesday in the $25 million wrongful death suit against the local Hennen Restaurant Group in the deaths of 19-year-old Hannah Barnes and 27-year-old Michael Hennen.

The two were struck and killed by a train in August 2011 near the McDonald Farm.

Barnes' mother, Lisa Barnes, alleges her daughter drank alcohol at the restaurant hours before the accident.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Sara Sidery is in the courtroom covering the case. Follow her on twitter @SaraSideryWRCB for the latest in this case.

Tweet are in chronological order, with the most recent at top. Refresh your browser for the latest updates.


3:13pm - Lisa Barnes will not receive any money in the $25 million lawsuit.

2:43pm - Jury rules Michael Hennen was NOT at fault in serving alcohol to Hannah Barnes the night of the train wreck.

2:35pm - Took just 1.5 hours of deliberation to reach verdict.

2:30pm - The jury has reached a verdict. Will be reading soon.

1:46pm - Courtroom dead silent while the jury is in deliberation room. Both sides are present. Will keep you posted if jury comes out.

11:56am - Jury has case, but will break until 1. Then get into deliberations.

11:55am - "It's going to take a bold verdict to change behavior." Closing arguments wrapped up.

11:40am - "You can turn this tragedy into a legacy when you speak up. You cannot tolerate underage drinking in restaurants."

11:33am - Plaintiff rebuttal. Points out Hannah's dad noting a sign of impairment after watching Walmart surveillance video.

11:26am - Defense points out both parties were adults. "You don't have to be 21 to know it's dangerous to be by a railroad track."

11:24am - Defense attacks plaintiff effort to show intoxication. "How normal can they be? What did they show? 2 friends having good time"

11:16am - Defense notes only signs of alcohol in all this = two beer cans recovered near railroad tracks. None found in MH or HB cars.

11:10am - Defense says plaintiff relying on sympathy more than evidence. Lisa Barnes has been tearful during his argument.

11:02am - Defense atty: zero witnesses, exhibits, evidence showing Hannah actually drank alcohol at the restaurant.

10:58am - Defense: "This case is built on speculation on speculation." Calls lawsuit cruel, "pouring salt in wound for money"

10:56am - "Hannah's & Michael's memory is better than destroy, destroy, destroy." End of plaintiff argument.

10:54am - Atty says restaurant destroyed video. Video was gone after 66 hours, but testimony could have been retrieved within 72 hours.

10:52am - Hannah BAC was .07; doctor said it would take two mixed drinks early in night (@Hennen's) and 1 beer at farm to reach that BAC.

10:46am - Atty pointing out signs of impairment in Michael & Hannah, seen on surveillance leaving Walmart. No alcohol purchased there.

10:42am - Last text Hannah sent to mom. 8/22/11 1:58 a.m. "Don't worry mom, I'm at work with Michael."

10:40am - "We don't have direct evidence of M serving H liquor @ the bar bc was destroyed. A lot of circumstantial evidence they were there."

10:19am - Closing arguments now under way. Barnes' atty argues first. Notes MH & HB age diff. "I wouldn't be here if she was 27 yrs old."

10:06am - Judge now reading jury instructions. 

 

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