Considering A Dram Shop Case Against El Corral? Here's What You Need To Know
I have sued more bars for irresponsible alcohol service in the last thirty years than anyone else in Texas. Having handled hundreds of cases, I can attest to just how widespread the practice of over-serving customers is. While people might see or hear about drunk driving accidents from time to time, rarely do they hear about the role that reckless bars play in those accidents. In the interest of helping the general public see the real extent of this problem, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's record of complaints and posting about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) case, don't hesitate to call me at (855) 326-0000.
El Corral is a restaurant and bar located in Seguin, Texas. While primarily frequented by local fans of homestyle Mexican food, it has also attracted a significant amount of attention from the TABC in recent years due to a number of allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2018, authorities conducted four separate investigations into alcohol service practices at El Corral.
In my experience, it is uncommon for a bar without a history of run-ins with the TABC to end up on the hook for contributing to a wrongful death or injury. Virtually every bar I have ever sued was already on the authorities' radar. That's why I pay close attention to bars with several recent complaints against them. The more investigations a bar has had, the greater my concern is that it could one day contribute to an accident.
Note: Investigations are not evidence that a bar has broken the law. Investigators must have sufficient proof that there was a violation of TABC regulations in order to take legal action. Owing to the nature of liquor law violations, that proof can often be difficult for authorities to obtain. The purpose of this article is simply to relay publicly-available information about incidents where the TABC has investigated El Corral for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of El Corral Between 2017 and 2018
Seguin - 2100 N Austin Street
On 02/09/2017, an unnamed source filed a complaint with the TABC, accusing the bar of permitting a minor to possess or consume alcohol.
Authorities followed up soon after with an investigation. For most liquor law violations, the TABC requires either video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to take action. In this particular instance, authorities had neither. As a result, the case came to a close on 02/09/2017.
A member of the Seguin community reached out to the TABC on 11/16/2017, alleging that staff was drinking on the job and sold alcohol to both an underage patron and a drunk patron. The first complaint is more serious than it might appear on the surface. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff itself is drinking, its ability to determine when to cut off service is impaired, which could potentially lead to over-serving.
After nearly two months of investigation, TABC agents were unable to confirm the veracity of the claims. Unable to take any action against the bar, authorities closed the case on 01/11/2018.
A law enforcement complaint, placed on 03/22/2018, alleged that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
The ensuing investigation was successful at proving that a breach of the peace occurred and that the bar failed to report it. After handing down penalties for administrative violations, authorities closed the case on 05/17/2018.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC once again on 10/11/2018, this time alleging that staff was drinking on the job and that the bar refused an inspection during regular business hours.
TABC agents launched an inquiry and quickly determined the validity of both allegations. After issuing citations and handing down the appropriate penalties, authorities wrapped up their work on the case on 11/08/2018.
Texas Law Says Accident Victims Can Sue Bad Bars
If you would like to learn more about Texas dram shop law (i.e. lawsuits against bars who play a role in injurious or fatal accidents), please visit our Texas Dram Shop Law Info Page.