Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Pueblo Viejo Mexican Restaurant? 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.
Pueblo Viejo Mexican Restaurant is located in Porter, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted a significant amount of attention from the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2018 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than seven investigations into the restaurant'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 Pueblo Viejo Mexican Restaurant for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Pueblo Viejo Mexican Restaurant Between 2018 and 2019
Porter - 23724 Loop 494
Law enforcement filed a complaint with the TABC on 08/16/2018, alleging that staff was drinking on the job. This type of allegation is more serious than it might appear at first glance. Staff has a responsibility to stop serving customers who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If the staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.
Authorities followed up with an investigation 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 particular instance, investigators decided to close the case on 08/16/2018.
On 09/25/2017, a member of the Porter community reached out to the TABC, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
Upon investigation, authorities were able to find evidence to support the allegation, which they classified as an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, TABC agents concluded their work on 11/19/2017.
A concerned citizen filed a complaint on 08/20/2018, again alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an underage patron.
The investigation that followed lasted barely more than two weeks, which is far shorter than the usual duration of a month or two. Authorities did not manage to find any evidence of wrongdoing, resulting in their decision to close the case on 09/05/2018.
Another citizen complaint, filed on 09/04/2018, accused the bar of multiple violations. These included: selling alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated person, in addition to a breach of the peace (typically a fight), which the bar allegedly failed to report.
The TABC launched an investigation into the matter, but only found enough evidence to substantiate the claim that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace, which it classified as an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, authorities closed the case on 09/26/2018.
On 05/29/2019, the TABC received a complaint that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
The ensuing investigation was not successful at turning up any evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. After well over two months of work, investigators ended their work on the case on 08/20/2019.
The next citizen complaint came on 11/29/2018, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to an underage patron.
Authorities conducted an inquiry, but were not able to locate any hard evidence of wrongdoing. With no other course of action available, the TABC shut the case on 12/12/2018.
The TABC received a complaint from an anonymous source on 03/01/2019, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron under the age of 21.
Investigators worked on the case for over a month, but did not manage to find any proof of wrongdoing. Unable to take any other action, authorities closed the case on 04/09/2019.
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.