Alcohol is big business for restaurants and bars in the Dallas area, but owners and bartenders need to keep more in mind than their bottom line when serving alcohol in Texas. If an over-served customer harms themselves or others while intoxicated, the establishment could be held liable in court under the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Code, sometimes called the Dram Shop Law.
One Dallas restaurant chain has had many of its locations investigated by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) in recent years. Founded in Dallas in 1982, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is a popular Tex-Mex chain with over 160 locations. A big selling point is the restaurant’s party atmosphere and wide selection of colorful margaritas.
No one wants to put a damper on a good time, but consistent complaints filed with the TABC raise serious concerns about whether On The Border is violating state liquor laws.
TABC Investigating On the Border
t’s important to note that just because a complaint was filed does not mean On The Border necessarily broke the law. On the other hand, alcohol service violations can be difficult for the state to prove beyond a doubt, so just because investigators couldn’t find enough evidence doesn’t mean On The Border is guiltless.
If any of the behavior in this rundown of On The Border investigations seems familiar to you and you have been injured due to negligent alcohol service, an attorney at Crowe, Arnold & Majors would be happy to speak with you more about dram shop claims in Texas.
13005 S Freeway
Someone reported to the TABC on Feb. 27, 2017, that On The Border served alcohol to a person that was already intoxicated. Officers were not able to confirm that this took place and during a month of observation, did not observe any other offenses. The complaint was closed.
A similar complaint of over-service was filed July 17, 2018, but officers were not able to find enough evidence. This complaint was also closed without any punitive action.
4320 W Waco Drive
A law enforcement agency reported to the TABC on Jan. 26, 2018, that there was a breach of peace at this On The Border location on Jan. 16. By law, the restaurant was required to have reported this disturbance to the TABC within ten days of the incident, and they did get their license suspended and issued a ‘Civil Penalty’ (likely a fine) for failing to do so.
4301 S Broadway Ave
Someone made a complaint to the TABC that this On The Border location sold alcohol to a minor shortly after Valentine’s Day 2017. When officers looked into the allegation, they could not find sufficient evidence. However, while they were investigating they did find that there was a breach of the peace at the restaurant near the beginning of the month. On The Border was issued a written warning for its failure to report the breach of the peace to the TABC.
On July 17, 2017, a bargoer reported that one or more employees were intoxicated on the job, which is illegal under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §104.01 that also prohibits obscene language or actions, sexual solicitations, drug use, and “rudely” displaying a weapon in a bar. Officers were unable to find enough evidence to confirm the allegations.
3111 Midwestern Parkway #242
On Nov. 28, 2016, someone complained that On The Border allegedly served alcohol to a minor and a visibly intoxicated person.
Officers confirmed the restaurant served alcohol to an underage customer, but agreed not to take any punitive action because the restaurant could have used the “Safe Harbor” defense to successfully argue it was an isolated incident.
Hold Our Local Establishments to a Higher Standard
If illegal alcohol service at On The Border or another Dallas dining establishment has brought harm to you or a loved one, you may be able to sue for damages. Contact us at Crowe, Arnold & Majors to learn more about dram shop liability.