Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Big Ben Tavern? Here's What You Need To Know
I've sued more reckless bars for failing to adhere to liquor laws than anyone else in the state of Texas. With three decades of experience and hundreds of cases behind me, I have seen just how frequently bars put profit before safety and over-serve alcohol, in spite of their legal obligation to serve responsibly. While people might see or hear of drunk driving accidents from time to time, they don't tend to hear as much about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to raise more awareness of this topic, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and writing about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim, don't hesitate to call my office at (855) 326-0000.
Big Ben Tavern is a bar and grill located in Sugar Land, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2018, authorities conducted three separate investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
In my three decades of legal practice, rarely have I seen bar end up involved in a wrongful death or injury case that didn't have a history of complaints on file with TABC. Almost every bar I've ever sued was already on the authorities radar, so when I see a bar that has been investigated several times over a short period, it raises my concern that it could one day play a part in an accident.
Note: Investigations are not proof of wrongdoing. However, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence, 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 Big Ben Tavern for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Big Ben Tavern Between 2015 and 2018
Sugar Land - 636 Hwy 6 Ste 1000
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 07/07/2015, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to a minor.
Authorities looked into the matter shortly thereafter. Even when a police officer is the source of a complaint, 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 09/03/2015.
A concerned citizen filed a complaint on 08/10/2017, claiming that staff was drinking on the job, in addition to selling alcohol to a minor and an intoxicated person. The first allegation is more serious than it might appear on the surface. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff is drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.
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 10/06/2017.
On 02/03/2018, law enforcement reached out to the TABC once again, this time alleging that the bar allowed customers to drink during prohibited hours.
TABC agents conducted an inquiry into the claim, but due to a lack of video evidence, they were unable to determine its veracity. With no other course of action available, they decided to bring the case to a close on 03/27/2018.
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.