Personal injury lawsuit filed against Austin eatery la Barbecue following owners’ indictment on fraud charges

Barbecue joint allegedly didn’t have workers’ compensation coverage when an employee was hurt

la Barbecue in Austin is facing a personal injury and fraud lawsuit from Aaron Gomez, a former employee who lost four of the fingers in a work-related incident. (Google Street View/Glasheen, Valles & Inderman, LLP)

AUSTIN, Texas – Attorneys for a man who was severely injured in a work-related incident at famed Austin restaurant la Barbecue have filed a personal injury and fraud lawsuit on his behalf.

Aaron Gomez lost four fingers on his dominant hand in 2016 “due to unsafe working conditions and training,” the lawsuit alleges.

Recommended Videos

The civil lawsuit was filed more than a year after the restaurant’s owner LeAnn Mueller and her wife, Alison Clem, who managed la Barbecue, were indicted in a $350,000 workers’ compensation fraud scheme related to the incident, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.

Mueller died in June at the age of 51, according to multiple media reports. Court records show that due to her death, the case against her was dismissed. Clem is scheduled to go to trial on those felony criminal charges in Travis County at the end of this month.

The TDI indictment alleged that the eatery had been without worker’s compensation coverage since November 2014, but following Gomez’s injury, Clem contacted Paychex Insurance to obtain the coverage and asked the agent to backdate the policy to three weeks before the employee was hurt.

Gomez’s civil lawsuit also alleges fraud.

“We believe the evidence will show that the Defendants engaged in a scheme to keep Aaron from presenting his case in front of a Travis County jury and recovering his full damages. This lawsuit empowers us to conduct a full and thorough investigation to get to the truth of how the injury occurred, why the Defendants sought to prevent our client from filing suit, and to hold those responsible accountable,” attorney Jon Clark said in a press release.

La Barbecue is located at 2401 E Cesar Chavez in East Austin. The barbecue joint is frequently mentioned in “best of” lists and made the cut for top barbecue joints in 2021 by Texas Monthly.

Clem told KSAT that they had not yet been served with the lawsuit and couldn’t comment on it specifically.

“We have always acted in good faith to ensure that our employees are provided a safe environment in which to work.  We are confident that the court system will eventually produce a result consistent with our good intentions,” Clem said.

GOMEZ POP by Julie Moreno on Scribd


About the Author

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

Recommended Videos