HOUSTON – A Midtown nightclub is facing two lawsuits alleging negligence that led to preventable tragedies and violence.
The family of 18-year-old Jesslyn Zuniga is suing Eleven Eleven for $20 million after the teen died in a February crash after leaving the club with a driver the family claims was overserved.
Jesus De La Garza is suing the nightclub for $5 million, claiming he was the victim of an unprovoked attack by bouncers and security guards in March that left him severely injured.
Houston attorney Rick Ramos is representing both cases and alleges that the club is also responsible for overserving three young women from El Campo who were killed in a crash after leaving Eleven Eleven in October 2021.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission says in 2021 it investigated two complaints that ended in violations against Eleven Eleven. One case of making an alcoholic beverage available to a minor on July 31 and two cases of allowing a minor to possess or consume an alcoholic beverage on October 31.
A TABC spokesperson said the July 31, 2021 incident was part of an underage compliance operation and that a case against a server at Eleven Eleven is pending in court.
Under the state’s “Safe Harbor” law, no action was taken against Eleven Eleven itself, according to TABC, because the business requires its servers to obtain special certifications and has written policies against serving minors/intoxication person and “hasn’t taken any actions which would directly or indirectly encourage an employee to break the law.”
Businesses could face fines or liquor license suspension if TABC finds repeat violations or if the business is found to pose an unacceptable safety risk.
“There are other investigations which remain active by TABC as well as local law enforcement agencies, including complaints related to alleged sales of alcohol to minors and intoxicated persons. Those investigations remain open, and there are no pending charges of wrongdoing against the business at this time,” said Chris Porter, TABC spokesperson.
In a news conference Tuesday, Attorney Ramos said the club should not be protected by the “safe harbor” rule.
“I don’t think the agency has looked deep enough into this,” he said.
In a court filing responding to one of the lawsuits, the club denied all allegations.