Considering A Dram Shop Case Against El Pueblito? Here's What You Need To Know
For three decades, I've been holding bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. In the hundreds of cases I've handled, I've seen just how widespread irresponsible alcohol service is, as well as the tragedies that often follow in its wake. 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 order to draw more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to investigating the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records and reporting my findings here on my website. If you believe you may have a dram shop claim, please call my office at (855) 326-0000.
El Pueblito is a restaurant located in Houston, Texas. With a menu featuring home-style Mexican seafood dishes, as well as cocktails served up in pineapples and coconuts, it has gained a strong local following. However, over the years, it has also had its share of run-ins with the TABC for allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2018, authorities conducted four separate investigations into El Pueblito's alcohol service practices.
In my experience, it's 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 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 El Pueblito for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of El Pueblito Between 2016 and 2018
Houston - 1423 Richmond Avenue
On 02/01/2016, TABC received a complaint from a concerned citizen that alleged the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
Authorities looked into the matter but failed to find any proof to corroborate the claim. For most liquor law violations, TABC requires either video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to take legal action. Having neither in this particular instance, TABC closed the case on 03/31/2016.
The following year, on 05/01/2017, a citizen complaint again accused staff of serving alcohol to a patron under the age of 21.
The ensuing investigation was unable to uncover any evidence of a violation. As a result, authorities decided to close this case on 11/07/2017 without taking further action.
Yet another citizen complaint, filed on 10/17/2017, charged the bar for a third time with dispensing alcohol to an underage customer.
TABC agents conducted an investigation, but as in the previous two inquiries, they were unable to turn up any evidence capable of standing up in court. Consequently, on 11/07/2017, they decided to end their work on the case.
Once more, a member of the Houston community reached out to TABC on 05/25/2018, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
The investigation that followed was not able to prove that a criminal or administrative violation took place. As a result, authorities closed the case without taking further action on 06/27/2018.
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.