Don Carlos Sues Twin Peaks Over Bike Melee In Waco

200px-Twin_Peaks_logoBandidos_Motorcycle_Club_logoThere is an interesting lawsuit coming out of Waco, Texas in the aftermath of shootings between motorcycle gangs at the Twin Peaks restaurant where nine people were killed and 18 wounded Sunday. The nearby Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant is now suing Twin Peaks for the loss of business — blaming the chain for ignoring police requests not to host the event and pandering to motorcycle gangs.

The $1 million lawsuit alleges that Twins Peaks discarded not just police advice but “basic common sense and ordinary prudence.”

Not only were customers trapped in the restaurant during the shootings but the business claims that it was later forced to close by law enforcement and the shooting cut off negotiations to sell the restaurant.

The lawsuit alleging negligence and gross negligence names as defendants Peaktastic Beverage LLC, the owner of the Waco and Harker Heights franchises, as well as Twin Peaks Investments LLC and Front Burner Restaurants GP LLC.

The lawsuit alleges management “knew or should have known the risk posed by hosting a special event for rival motorcycle gangs, and failed to control or prevent their violent actions.” It also says that Twin Peaks’ parent company actively encouraged franchisees to host events to drum up business and was aware of the “Bike Night” events hosted weekly.

Twin Peaks has gone on a public campaign to distance itself from the local franchise. It severed the franchise agreement for the Waco restaurant and moved to permanently close the restaurant.

The lawsuit presents interesting causation issues. While proximate causation is often cut off by the intentional torts or criminal conduct of third parties, courts have extended liability in some cases. For example, in Weirum v. RKO decision holding a radio station liable for injuries caused to a third party when teenagers drove recklessly to find The Real Don Steele in his marked van. The court held that the reckless driving was a foreseeable response of teenagers to the promise of free concert tickets. Likewise, in the case of Kline v. 1500 Massachusetts Avenue. In Kline a landlord was found liable for not taking precautions to protect tenants from crime in an apartment building in Washington. That case involved a tenant who remained on the property during years of decline of the neighborhood in Washington, D.C., but continued as an at-will tenant. She was aware of the crime in the area and the building. However, the court still held that the landlord was liable even though he met housing regulations. He still violated the implied warranty of habitability.

Here Twin Peaks is accused of creating the very environment that invited violence. Moreover, the failure of the sale of the Mexican restaurant is being attributed to the shooting — even though other elements could have also been involved in souring the deal. It could make for some very interesting discovery fights.

Here is the lawsuit.

18 thoughts on “Don Carlos Sues Twin Peaks Over Bike Melee In Waco”

  1. I just read this pertinent information last night in that aforementioned Hell’s Angel’s book I’m reading. As I said, this Hell’s Angels leader is an intelligent guy. You can be a thug and intelligent. Anyway, he hired an attorney and lobbyist to fight restaurants and bars that would not serve biker gangs. They got a law passed in Minnesota and several other states making it illegal to not serve bikers simply because they are wearing biker patches. According to Tom Matter, the Hell’s Angels president, it was a needed law as so many places would not serve them. He states the banning was not based on their behavior, simply on their biker affiliation. So, if such a law is on the books in Texas, that should help the defense of this lawsuit.

  2. nothing like organized crime. If what the mexican resturuant says is true….that is an admission of wanting to be party to the organization…..rico ….part and parcel….not a very bright lawyer…..not even for a shake down§

  3. Bikers are nutso about patches. If they beat up a rival gang member they steal his patch, and then have their girlfriend wear it to humiliate the beaten biker.

  4. It sounds like the entire shootout was the result of a disagreement about patch design. This was basically about the Biker Fashion Police and which biker gang owned the right to wear the Texas Rocker.

    Gangs tend to hyper focus on territory and pecking order, and can erupt into violence about inconsequential things. From the outside, it is amazing to me what people are willing to fight about. What is especially troubling is that all signs indicate that this episode will lead to an all-out gang war.

    Not all motorcycle clubs are biker gangs, but all gangs seem to share this predisposition towards crime and violence by definition. I do not know about the legal merits of this claim. However, it seems like basic common sense that a venue would demand outside security for a meeting of rival biker gangs. These aren’t motorcycle clubs where middle class guys spend the weekend as road warriors. At least one was a well known gang.

    I have attended biker hosted events, and there was usually massive security. Only recently I wandered into a biker charity event at a restaurant, without security, but everyone there was really nice. I at least had the impression that no one would dream of getting violent at an open charity event. I also think the Love Ride was attended by various clubs, as well as yuppy motorcycle riders and bullet bikes, and I never heard of any problems. I’ve never been to the Sturgis Rally, but I believe they take security pretty seriously there.

  5. oops! “Bandidos” was not the name of the Restaurant I just realized! But the name of the gang in the story.

  6. did y’all notice the name of the Mexican restaurant?
    it literally says “Bandits(Outlaws) Worldwide”. And even the logo has has a picture of a Bandit with a gun and a sword!
    kinda funny!

  7. I just learned that GM may face criminal charges over Ignition Switches. We have seen other corporation facing criminal charges, but upon conviction none of those “corporation” are ever given a sentence. The corporation may pay a fine, the employees may be sent to jail. However the corporation itself continues to do business as before. If corporations are “persons” as the Supreme Court said they are why are the not treated like “persons” I have included a copy of an article I wrote which was just published in the Justinian Society news letter which deals with this question.

    Dominic Fichera

  8. Cops hate these biker gangs w/ good reason. That said, cops can overreact. I have no idea if that is what happened here and doubt anyone else here does either. The aforementioned Branch Davidian incident is a classic example of police overreaction. Both cases it did involve ATF, who are the cowboys of Federal Law Enforcement. Goes back to the days of them being the moonshine chasers. With the Branch Davidians, the ATF wanted to show them who was boss and they got it shoved up their asses when they tried to arrest Koresh @ the compound. Koresh went into town regularly and that was the intelligent and prudent time to apprehend him. The subsequent assault by the FBI, ordered by Reno and Clinton, was one of the most shameful law enforcement events of my lifetime. As we know, that led to the Oklahoma City bombing. Violence begets violence.

  9. Paul,

    It worked well against the Aryan Nations in Idaho. A woman and her child, if I remember the story correctly, drove by their compound after making a wrong turn. The car backfired and the AN guards shot at her, chased her down, and assaulted them with the butts of their rifles. She sued them, won a large award and rico’ed their property, assets, and trademarked logos. It pretty much ended their reign of fear.

  10. Americans have this old nostalgic connection to Marlon Brando and the good ol biker boys. These pigs are more like ISIS. You have them in your midst and do nothing. Quit bitching about Syria and clean up your terrorists here in AmeriKa.

  11. A finding of liability in the Weirum and Kline cases seems to me absolutely outrageous. (Neighborhood crime breaches a warranty of habitability?! The gods must be crazy.) So, too, is liability of an adjacent business for the acts of its customers. Shouldn’t business owners be able to rely on conduct within the law or are we implicitly creating classes of customers based on past conduct that somehow should be known by a business owner for the patch on one’s back?

    What Barabajagal wrote! Foreseeability in all of these cases is too far a stretch.

  12. On the surface the complaint appears valid. It will be interesting to see how the courts see it given the issues of precedent. There are probably a lot of circumstances where the state of one business can affect that of another. Another way to look at is should a business be able to collect from another for drawing customers?

  13. I saw a former leader of the Minneapolis Hell’s Angels interviewed about this incident by Jake Tapper. His name is Tom Matter, and he came across as articulate and intelligent. He and a cop who busted him wrote a book about their story. I bought it and I’m about half way through it. Somewhat interesting but poorly written. I’ll skim through the last half to see what happens but can’t recommend it.

  14. I remember a lawsuit against Domino’s. They had a delivery motto, “At your door in 30 minutes or it’s free.” One of their delivery drivers was in an accident injuring the plaintiff. The complaint put the causation on the motto, which pressured drivers to live up to that motto.

  15. Come on now; if people were shooting recklessly, do you honestly think they could shoot right between the eyes and right in the middle of the chest? Is it not more likely that the bullets would have shot somewhere else on the body? Yes, but the bullets found their target in a precise manner. This was an execution; period.

  16. Surprised the prosecutors have not used the RICO laws on them.

  17. Perhaps, depending on events, it might be an opportunity for some of the civilians to go after the Bandidos and the other OMGs under the Civil RICO laws.

  18. This seems like an opportunistic lawsuit. Has some good points though.
    I am more concerned about the event. The police actions at noon on a Sunday in Waco bring back memories of the Branch Davidians and the ATF 20+ years ago. The ATF was involved in this incident as well. I understand having a uniformed police presence if you have had reasons for concern. I do not understand the presence of a SWAT team armed with rifles stationed in position to fire on the parking lot of this restaurant. I will be looking for the autopsy reports on the 9 dead to see how many died from a rifle bullet. This has the smell of a police force being used by some powerful forces to take action against a group of individuals who are known to be non conformist.
    This was not a big drinking party like the weekday “biker nights” with drinking specials that the police seemed concerned about. This was a early Sunday afternoon regular meeting of many different clubs to discuss laws and proposed laws that effect all motorcyclist. The Texas State Legislature is presently in session. I send my condolences to the friends and families of the deceased. I send support and well wishes to the many innocent people who are incarcerated with unrealistic bail amounts.

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