Texas Man Wins $5.5M Lawsuit Claiming Restaurant Overserved Him Alcohol

A Texas man has won a lawsuit against a restaurant on the grounds that it overserved him alcoholic beverages.

Daniel Rawls of Andrews, Texas, was awarded $5.5 million in the Andrews County 109th District Court's July 27 ruling on the civil suit, which alleged that a drunken fight at La Fogata Mexican Grill and Bar caused him to sustain a "serious and debilitating" head injury in May 2019, the Houston Chronicle reported.

After drinking heavily at the restaurant in Andrews, Rawls was involved in a violent altercation with another customer, Robert Henrickson, following an argument in the parking lot, the suit said. Henrickson allegedly had been drinking heavily as well.

Rawls filed the lawsuit against the business on May 17.

The court's ruling in Rawls's favor was a default judgment, meaning that the owner of La Fogata did not respond to the suit or show up in court. The restaurant itself, owner Lourdes Galindo, and an unnamed bartender were named in the suit. The suit's claims included premises liability, negligence, and damages arising from foreseeable criminal conduct.

Newsweek has reached out to La Fogata for a comment on this ruling. The restaurant has 30 days from the date of the ruling to appeal.

The suit specifically alleged that the bartender, referred to only as John or Jane Doe, was not suitably trained by Galindo to notice when a customer had had enough alcohol and might cause trouble if they kept drinking. It also accused the restaurant of negligence for not calling an ambulance for Rawls following the parking lot altercation with Henrickson, and for not keeping the lot clear of things "that would pose a tripping or falling hazard to intoxicated patrons."

As the Chronicle reported, Rawls has an alleged history of intoxicated incidents prior to and after the one at La Fogata. According to arrest records obtained by the newspaper, he has been arrested twice for public intoxication in February 2019 and May 2021.

Another recent lawsuit out of Texas also involved alleged misconduct by a restaurant. Ma'Kiya Congious has filed a suit against her former employer, the well-known regional fast-food chain Whataburger in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, for allegedly reprimanding her and forcing her out of her job for wearing a "Black Lives Matter" branded face mask in August 2020.

Congious argued that she had been allowed to wear such a mask in the past and that other employees had been allowed to wear non-generic masks. Despite this precedent, she claimed that a manager told her that she would have to change the mask and that the company didn't want masks being worn that expressed any opinions.

texas lawsuit overserved alcohol
A Texas man alleged in a lawsuit that he was overserved alcohol by a restaurant. In this stock photo, a judge's gavel is seen close-up. Harold M. Lambert/Getty Images