Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Bea's Place? Here's What You Need To Know
My firm has handled more liquor liability (dram shop) cases than anyone else in Texas. With over 30 years of practice behind me, I can attest to just how many bars regularly fail to adhere to alcohol service laws, particularly when it comes to their obligation to refuse service to patrons who are already drunk. While the public might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it is much less common for it to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to increase people's awareness of this problem, I dedicate a portion of my time to researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and reporting my findings here on my website. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and have questions about how to proceed, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
Bea's Place is a bar located in Alice, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC on multiple occasions due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, authorities conducted four separate investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
In my experience, it's uncommon for a bar without a history of run-ins with the TABC to end up on the hook for contributing to a wrongful death or injury. Virtually every bar I have ever sued was already on the authorities' radar. That's why I pay close attention to bars with several recent complaints against them. The more investigations a bar has had, the greater my concern is that it could one day contribute to an accident.
Note: Investigations are not proof of wrongdoing. However, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence of a violation, it doesn't necessarily mean an establishment is innocent, either. The purpose of this article is simply to relay publicly-available information about incidents where the TABC has investigated Bea's Place for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Bea's Place Between 2018 and 2019
Alice - 2341 Hwy 281 North
Law enforcement filed a complaint with the TABC on 07/11/2018, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person and that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place, which the bar failed to report (a separate violation in itself).
Authorities looked into the matter shortly thereafter. Even when the source of a complaint is a police officer, for most liquor law violations, the TABC requires either video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to take action. Having neither in this investigation, authorities decided to close the case on 09/12/2018.
A second law enforcement complaint came on 12/12/2018, alleging that a breach of the peace took place.
As mentioned in the previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing. Since authorities had no such evidence in this investigation, they could not take any action, leading to their decision to close the case on 02/09/2019.
The TABC received a third law enforcement complaint on 01/25/2019, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated patron, in addition to allowing staff to sell or possess drugs on the premises.
Upon investigation, authorities were able to determine that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron and that a breach of the peace occurred, both of which they classified as administrative violations. After deciding not to hand down any punishment, the TABC closed the case on 04/09/2020.
A concerned citizen reached out to the TABC on 05/29/2019, claiming that the bar allowed staff to sell drugs on the premises.
TABC agents conducted an inquiry, but due to a lack of video evidence, they could not determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, investigators could not take any further action, leading to their decision to close the case on 07/26/2019.
Texas Law Says Accident Victims Can Sue Bad Bars
If you would like to learn more about Texas dram shop law (i.e. lawsuits against bars who play a role in injurious or fatal accidents), please visit our Texas Dram Shop Law Info Page.