Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Garcia's Lounge? Here's What You Need To Know
I've been suing irresponsible bars for over-serving alcohol for 30 years. My experience handling hundreds of cases has repeatedly shown me just how many bars fail to follow alcohol service regulations, as well as the tragedies that all too often result. While people might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, they don't tend to hear about the role that reckless bars play in those accidents. In order to call more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to reviewing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records and reporting my findings here on my website. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and have questions about how to proceed, don't hesitate to call me at (855) 326-0000.
Garcia's Lounge is a bar located in Harlingen, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2014 and 2018, authorities conducted three separate investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
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 cause an accident.
Note: Investigations are not proof of wrongdoing. However, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence of a violation, it doesn't necessarily mean an establishment is innocent, either. The purpose of this article is simply to relay publicly-available information about incidents where the TABC has investigated Garcia's Lounge for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Garcia's Lounge Between 2014 and 2018
Harlingen - 535 N Commerce
On 04/09/2014, the TABC received an anonymous complaint, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
While the ensuing investigation failed to find any evidence to support the initial allegation, it did manage to find evidence that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight), which authorities classified as an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, the TABC closed the case on 05/16/2014.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 09/18/2018, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
Authorities looked into the matter shortly thereafter. Even when the source of a complaint is a police officer, 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. Having neither in this investigation, authorities decided to close the case on 11/17/2018.
A second anonymous complaint, filed on 12/21/2018, alleged that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk customer.
As mentioned in the previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing. Since authorities had no such evidence in this investigation, they could not take any action, leading to their decision to close the case on 01/11/2019.
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.