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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Cinco Estrellas Cantina? Here's What You Need To Know

I've sued more reckless bars for failing to adhere to liquor laws than anyone else in the state of Texas. With three decades of experience and hundreds of cases behind me, I have seen just how frequently bars put profit before safety and over-serve alcohol, in spite of their legal obligation to serve responsibly. While people might see or hear of drunk driving accidents from time to time, they don't tend to hear as much about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to raise more awareness of this topic, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and writing about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim, don't hesitate to call my office at (855) 326-0000.

Cinco Estrellas Cantina is a bar located in El Paso, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC on numerous occasions due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than five investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.

In my three decades of legal practice, rarely have I seen bar end up involved in a wrongful death or injury case that didn't have a history of complaints on file with TABC. Almost every bar I've ever sued was already on the authorities radar, so when I see a bar that has been investigated several times over a short period, it raises my concern that it could one day play a part in 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 Cinco Estrellas Cantina for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of Cinco Estrellas Cantina Between 2016 and 2019

El Paso - 9430 Mccombs Street Suite F


Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 08/24/2016, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred and that the bar failed to report it.

An inquiry into the allegations ensued, but even when the source of a complaint is a police officer, the TABC requires corroborating evidence before taking action. Since investigators had no proof to back up the claims, they were left with no choice but to close the case, which they did on 09/30/2016.

A staff member filed a complaint with the TABC on 11/10/2016, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already intoxicated. While it might seem strange that a staff member would be the source of a TABC complaint, employees have a legal obligation to report any violations they see in the workplace.

Authorities looked into the matter shortly thereafter. 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 12/22/2016.

A member of the El Paso community reached out to the TABC on 08/29/2018, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.

The subsequent investigation failed to turn up any hard evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. With no other course of action available, authorities brought their work on the case to an end on 12/02/2018.

On 01/25/2019, a citizen complaint brought the TABC back to investigate once again. This time, the allegation was that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron.

After well over two months of investigation, authorities still had not managed to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing. Unable to take any further action, investigators closed the case on 04/09/2019.

A citizen complaint on 12/17/2019 alleged again that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already intoxicated.

As is so often the case, the TABC could could not determine the veracity of the claim due to a lack of video footage. Consequently, they closed the case without further action on 03/04/2020.

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.