Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Claudia's Cantina? 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.
Claudia's Cantina is a restaurant and bar located in Galveston, Texas. Known for offering both a wide variety of Mexican seafood and live music, it has managed to establish a strong local following. In recent years, however, Claudia's Cantina has also managed to attract the attention of the TABC, due to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than four 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 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 Claudia's Cantina for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Claudia's Cantina Between 2016 and 2019
Galveston - 1309 39th Street
On 12/14/2016, law enforcement placed a complaint with TABC, alleging that the bar permitted the consumption of alcohol during prohibited hours.
Authorities looked into the matter, but were unable to uncover sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to issue a citation. 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 particular instance, investigators decided to close the case on 02/11/2017.
A second law enforcement complaint, filed on 03/10/2017, charged the bar with four violations: serving alcohol to a minor, selling alcohol to a drunk patron, selling alcohol during prohibited hours, and permitting the consumption of alcohol during prohibited hours.
The TABC carried out an investigation into the claims, but due to a lack of video evidence, it was unable to determine their veracity. On 04/29/2017, the case concluded.
Yet another law enforcement complaint, dated 10/17/2017, claimed that the bar sold alcohol to a customer who was already over the limit.
The ensuing investigation was unsuccessful at proving the bar had committed an administrative or criminal violation. On 11/10/2017, authorities closed the case without taking further action.
A member of the Galveston community filed a complaint on 04/05/2019, alleging that the bar sold alcohol both to an intoxicated customer and during prohibited hours.
The investigation that followed was not able to prove the validity of either of the claims. However, it did uncover evidence of a different administrative violation, for which authorities issued a written warning. On 08/04/2019, the case came to an end.
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.