Questions Remain as Lawsuits Pile Up Against Twin Peaks Franchisee

Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP
Photo: Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP

HOUSTON, Texas — Lawsuits are piling up against the Twin Peaks franchisee in Waco, Texas, but questions remain, and fingers of blame are being pointed every which way. The Twin Peaks Corporation, located in Dallas, and the Don Carlos restaurant next door, have filed a lawsuit against the Waco restaurant. A biker has sued for civil rights violations because of his arrest.

A shootout on May 17th at the restaurant resulted in 170 arrests, and left nine bikers dead. More than 18 persons were wounded with either gunshot or stab wounds. The Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco is no longer open, leaving its employees without jobs.

A lawsuit has now been filed by the Don Carlos restaurant located adjacent to the Waco Twin Peaks franchise.

The petition filed in Dallas County names Peaktastic Beverage, LLC, owner of the franchise, and the management investment group that oversees the Twin Peaks restaurants as defendants.

The Don Carlos Mexican food restaurant charges that the Twin Peaks franchise is liable for gross negligence, stating that 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 alleges that the franchise took actions which involved “an extreme degree of risk considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others.”

The petition states that the defendants routinely ignored warnings by law enforcement, and put the safety of others aside for the sake of profit.

The Don Carlos restaurant asks for compensation for damages including loss of business and future profits, as well as damage to its property. Bullets struck vehicles on the property, and the restaurant had to be shut down after the restaurant grounds and parking lots were marked off as a crime scene. The restaurant had to be closed from Sunday, May 17th until Thursday, May 21st.

Breitbart Texas spoke with Tony Buzbee, of the Buzbee Law Firm in Houston, who said, “We simply want to be compensated for the lost revenues suffered as a result of the forced closure.”

Buzbee continued, “We think Twin Peaks was reckless, and should have never hosted such an event. When law enforcement tells you holding an event for rival bikers where alcohol is served is a bad idea, it would be smart to follow their recommendation.”

As reported by Breitbart News, questions have been asked about whether the Twin Peaks in Waco opened itself up to lawsuits because law enforcement made them aware of gang activity, but management did not cooperate. Law enforcement was already posted at the restaurant before the shooting began.

The national headquarters of Twin Peaks has blamed the franchisee, and has sued to revoke the franchise from the Waco restaurant. It has also sued for damages.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the national office wrote, “We will not tolerate the actions of this relatively new franchisee and are revoking their franchise immediately.” The statement appeared on the company’s Facebook page.

“Unfortunately the management team of the franchised restaurant in Waco chose to ignore the warnings and advice from both the police and our company, and did not uphold the high security standards we have in place to ensure everyone is safe at our restaurants,” the company’s Facebook post continued.

Waco Police Stg. W. Patrick Swanton said “the event could have been avoided had the restaurant worked with Waco PD.”

While the national company is disclaiming responsibility and pointing the finger at the Waco franchise, there are also reports that law enforcement contacted the national office.

Bikers claim that it was the Waco Police Department that put everyone in harm’s way.

And Waco PD blasted CNN for putting out unproven information as verifiable fact. The news network posted an article which asserted that four of the nine people killed in the shooting were killed by police officers.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, CNN wrote, “According to a law enforcement source, preliminary information indicates that four of the bikers killed were killed by police gunfire.”

Civil rights violations have also been alleged, and a lawsuit has been filed for unlawful arrest.

Breitbart Texas’ Lee Stranahan reported that Matthew Clendennen, one of the about 170 people arrested, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Waco, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, and individual police officers.

The suit claims that Clendennen’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by Waco’s alleged policy decision to indict and hold people with “fill in the name” criminal complaints. He also complains about the seizure of property. Motorcycles, guns, and other property were all seized from the bikers by police.

The suit states Clendennen is a recreational motorcyclist, a Baylor University graduate, former fireman, small business owner, and a husband and father.

Clendennen says he is no criminal, and while he is part of the Scimitars motorcycle club, he simply took cover inside the restaurant when the shooting began. He had been on the patio eating.

The Washington Post reported that there were about 20 employees at the restaurant on the day of the shooting. One of them said that customers having a few too many beers was not uncommon; however, Bike Nights at the location had always gone smoothly.

Other employees reportedly posted sharply-worded and condemning statements on social media. They claim management was warned by authorities about the threat of gang violence, but chose to ignore the warnings and put the employees at jeopardy.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2



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