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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against La Botana Mexican Grill? Here's What You Need To Know

Over the last 30 years, I've worked to hold reckless bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. My experience handling hundreds of cases has opened my eyes to just how many bars consistently fail to follow alcohol service regulations. 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 irresponsible bars play in those accidents. Since most people don't do what I do for a living, I make an effort to share my insights in hopes of calling more attention to this issue. One way I do this is by periodically reviewing Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission 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, please call me at (855) 326-0000.

La Botana Mexican Grill is located in Early, Texas. Offering homestyle Mexican food and a full bar, the restaurant is known for specializing in the cuisine of Jalisco. Though popular with locals, La Botana Mexican Grill has also managed to attract a substantial amount of attention from the TABC in recent years due to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2019 alone, authorities conducted no fewer than four investigations into the bar'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 La Botana Mexican Grill for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of La Botana Mexican Grill Between 2017 and 2019


Early - 108 Early Boulevard

Allegations:

On 02/04/2017, the TABC received a complaint from a concerned citizen, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk patron.

Authorities launched an investigation into the matter, but failed to uncover any evidence of a violation. Unable to take any action, they decided to close the case on 03/28/2017.

Law enforcement filed a complaint on 05/05/2018 that alleged that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred, and that the bar failed to report it.

The TABC subsequently conducted an inquiry into the claim, finding sufficient evidence of an administrative violation to take legal action. After handing down an unspecified civil penalty for failure to report a breach of the peace, agents closed this case on 05/22/2018.

Another law enforcement complaint, dated 04/02/2019, accused bar staff of drinking on the job. This type of allegation is more serious than it might appear at first glance. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to judge when to stop serving is impaired. 

The ensuing investigation was able to prove that a violation occurred, for which the bar received an unspecified civil penalty. On 06/01/2019, investigators ended their work on the case.

On 11/20/2019, a staff member filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that a breach of the peace occurred.

TABC agents investigated the allegation, but they could not determine the veracity of the claim due to a lack of video evidence. Unable to take any action, authorities closed the case on 12/27/2019.

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.