Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Montrae 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.
Montrae Lounge is a cocktail bar located in El Paso, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2018 and 2019, 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, 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 Montrae Lounge for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Montrae Lounge Between 2018 and 2019
El Paso - 9606 Montana Avenue
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 05/01/2018, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
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 07/31/2018.
On 06/21/2019, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that staff was drinking on the job. This type of allegation 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 is drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.
While the ensuing investigation failed to find any evidence to support the initial claim, it did manage to determine that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight), which the TABC classified as an administrative violation. After issuing the bar a written warning, authorities closed the case on 08/13/2019.
A member of the El Paso community reached out to the TABC on 07/09/2019, claiming that staff sold drugs on the premises and that a breach of the peace took place.
The investigation that followed was only able to find evidence that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace. Once again, TABC agents abstained from handing down any punishment, instead opting to issue the bar a written warning. On 07/11/2019, the case came to a close.
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.