Eatery Near Texas Biker Shootout Sues Twin Peaks
By Alex Wolf
May 22, 2015
A Waco, Texas, restaurant closed by law enforcement authorities after the deadly biker gang shootout at the neighboring Twin Peaks restaurant sued Twin Peaks on Friday for gross negligence, asking for $1 million in compensation for property damage and loss of business.
The owners of Don Carlos Restaurant, located on the other side of the parking lot where the deadly clash involving hundreds of biker gang members began, accuses Twin Peaks and parent companies Front Burner Restaurants GP LLC and Twin Restaurant Investment Company LLC of promoting an environment for the melee to take place, according to a complaint filed in Texas court.
The complaint states that law enforcement officials had warned Twin Peaks – which became a known destination for motorcycle club and gang activity thanks to the restaurant’s sponsorship of regular events appealing to club members – that it was creating a dangerous environment. The plaintiff says that despite those warnings, the management team at Twin Peaks refused to cooperate to cease special events directed at this particular clientele, resulting in the clash.
“This is a case where, in an effort to make money, a business disregarded basic common sense and ordinary prudence,” the complaint states. “The owners and management of Twin Peaks invited armed, rival gang members to a meeting at their establishment where alcohol was served. Twin Peaks had been repeatedly warned by law enforcement that such meetings were not wise, and that violence could likely result.”
According to the suit, on the day of the shootout, the Twin Peaks in Waco hosted a motorcycle club event that was advertised with photos of scantily clad women holding various firearms. The suit accuses Twin Peaks of not only promoting rival gang members to congregate at its location in spite of several warnings, but also failing to provide security for the event and enforce safety rules.
As violence erupted inside and outside the Twin Peaks restaurant, patrons in Don Carlos were trapped inside “as thousands of bullet rounds were fired by law enforcement officials and gang members” and law enforcement agents used Don Carlos’ porch and surrounding walls to protect themselves from incoming fire, the plaintiff claims. At least four cars in the Don Carlos parking lot now have bullet holes in them, the suit says.
As a result of the shootout and ensuing investigation, the businesses surrounding Twin Peaks have been closed by law enforcement, causing Don Carlos and others to lose potential profits, the complaint says.
The suit seeks to recover lost profits due to the ongoing closure as well as market value damages for permanent injury to property and the costs for repair and replacement of property that was damaged, including sentimental value damages. The suit also claims that the owner of Don Carlos had been in discussions of selling the restaurant, but that process has ended and the restaurant should be compensated for the potential profit that could have been realized from its sale.
The suit holds not only the Twin Peaks in Waco responsible, but also the parent companies for failing to take efforts to cease the activities of its franchisee. Although the franchisor has withdrawn the franchise rights of the Waco location owner, Jay Patel, the plaintiff says the effort is “too little, and too late.”
A representative for Twin Peaks did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
Plaintiff is represented by Anthony G. Buzbee and Bret Griffin of The Buzbee Law Firm.
Counsel information for defendants was not immediately available Friday.
The case is DC Waco Restaurant Inc. v. Peaktastic Beverage LLC et al., case number DC-15-05787, in the 44th Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas.