Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Red Iguana? 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.
Red Iguana is a night club located in Pecos, Texas. Situated inside of the Quality Inn, its principal visitors are the hotel's guests. However, in recent years, it has also received several visits from the TABC due to numerous complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than fifteen investigations into alcohol service practices at Red Iguana.
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 Red Iguana for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Red Iguana Between 2015 and 2019
Pecos - 4002 S Cedar Street
On 01/13/2015, the TABC received a complaint from a concerned citizen, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person and failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
TABC agents looked into the matter and found sufficient evidence to prove the bar failed to report a breach of the peace. After issuing a written warning for an administrative violation, investigators closed the case on 03/14/2015.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 02/26/2015, charging the bar with permitting a minor to possess or consume alcohol and allowing the possession of drugs on the premises.
Authorities followed up soon after with an investigation. 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. In this particular instance, authorities had neither. As a result, the case came to a close on 04/27/2015.
The next complaint came from law enforcement, who claimed the bar sold alcohol to a drunk patron on 05/31/2015.
An investigation ensued, but authorities were not able to turn up any evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. As a result, they decided to close to case on 07/14/2015.
Law enforcement reached out to the TABC on 06/01/2015 and alleged that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace.
Upon investigation, authorities found enough evidence to prove that the bar had in fact failed to report the breach, which it classified as an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, the TABC shut the case on 06/14/2015.
Yet another law enforcement complaint on 08/27/2015 brought the TABC back to investigate the claim that the bar sold alcohol to an underage patron.
This time, authorities were able to substantiate the claim, for which they issued a notice of an administrative violation. For some reason, the TABC decided not to hand down any punishment, choosing instead to close the case on 10/26/2015.
On 11/04/2015, law enforcement placed a complaint that alleged the bar failed to report a breach of the peace.
An investigation followed and succeeded in proving the bar committed an administrative violation by failing to report the breach. While authorities chose not to punish the bar, they did issue a written warning before closing the case on 12/19/2015.
The TABC's next visit came after receiving a law enforcement complaint that accused the bar of selling alcohol to a drunk patron on 01/26/2016.
Due to a lack of video evidence, TABC agents could not determine the veracity of the claim. Unable to take further action, investigators concluded their efforts on 03/07/2016.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC once again on 05/15/2016, claiming that a breach of the peace occurred.
As stated previously, the TABC depends heavily on video footage to determine the veracity of most allegations of wrongdoing. Having no such evidence in this investigation, authorities were unable to take any action and subsequently closed the case on 06/30/2016.
A police complaint on 11/29/2016 led to a TABC investigation into the claim that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk customer.
Lacking hard evidence, investigators could not prove the validity of the accusation. Even the word of a police officer is not enough for the TABC to take action; as a result, the case came to an end on 01/10/2017.
On 02/14/2017, law enforcement claimed that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace.
The investigation that followed was not able to produce any proof of wrongdoing, which led authorities to close the case on 03/21/2017.
Police lodged a complaint on 03/18/2017, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit.
As is often the case, investigators did not have access to any video evidence to confirm the allegation and thus could not determine its veracity. On 04/18/2017, the case concluded without further action.
A law enforcement complaint, dated 05/21/2017, accused the bar of failing to report a breach of the peace.
TABC agents conducted an inquiry into the claim, but were not successful at finding any evidence to support it. On 07/06/2017, they decided to shut the case.
The TABC received yet another law enforcement complaint on 11/11/2017 that alleged that staff sold alcohol to a drunk person.
Again, due to a lack of video evidence, investigators could not prove any wrongdoing had occurred. Consequently, the case came to an end on 12/28/2017.
A concerned citizen filed a complaint on 10/23/2018, alleging that the bar sold alcohol during prohibited hours. Additionally, it claimed a breach of the peace occurred and that the bar failed to report it.
After nearly two months of investigation, authorities were only able to determine that a breach of the peace occurred. After issuing a notice of an administrative violation, authorities closed the case on 12/21/2018.
Law enforcement reached out to the TABC on 08/07/2019, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron and that a breach of the peace took place.
Authorities spent over a month working on the case, but they were ultimately unsuccessful at finding any hard evidence of a violation. On 09/19/2019, 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.