Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Morelia Mexican Grill? Here's What You Need To Know
Over the last 30 years, I have sued more bars for over-serving alcohol than any other lawyer in Texas. Having handled hundreds of cases, I can attest to just how many bars regularly fail to adhere to alcohol service laws, particularly when it comes to their obligation to refuse service to patrons who are already drunk. While the public might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it is much less common for it to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to increase people's awareness of this problem, I dedicate a portion of my time to researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database 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.
Morelia Mexican Grill is a small chain of restaurants in Texas. Started in Elgin in 2005, the brand has grown to include locations in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Avery Ranch, and Bastrop. While residents of those cities know Morelia Mexican Grill for offering authentic, homestyle Mexican food, the TABC knows it better for a number of complaints against it that allege it violated state liquor laws. Over just a three-year period, authorities conducted no fewer than four investigations into the restaurant chain'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 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 Morelia Mexican Grill for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Morelia Mexican Grill Between 2016 and 2019
Round Rock - 2400 Ih 35 South Suite 160
On 02/11/2016, the TABC received a complaint that alleged this location employed a person under the age of 18 to serve alcohol and that a member of staff was drinking on the job. This second 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 the staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to perform this essential function is compromised.
Authorities looked into the matter, but after nearly two months of investigation, they were unable to uncover any evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. Unable to take any action, they decided to close the case on 04/05/2016.
An unnamed source filed a complaint on 09/22/2016 that charged this location with selling alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit.
Investigators were unable to determine the veracity of these claims. 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 case, TABC agents closed the case on 01/05/2017.
On 12/12/2016, a concerned citizen filed a complaint again alleging that this location was employing a person under 18 to serve alcohol, in addition to allowing a minor to possess or consume alcohol.
As mentioned in the previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to determine the validity of allegations such as these. Since investigators again had none, they could not take any action. As a result, the case came to a close on 01/02/2017.
Austin - 9900 W Parmer Lane Suite 220
A member of the Austin community reached out to the TABC on 10/31/2019, alleging that this location served alcohol to a customer under the age of 21.
Once again, the subsequent investigation could not prove a violation occurred due to a lack of video evidence. Consequently, authorities closed the case without taking further action on 11/22/2019.
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.