Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Billar El Tapatio? Here's What You Need To Know
For three decades, I've been holding bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. In the hundreds of cases I've handled, I've seen just how widespread irresponsible alcohol service is, as well as the tragedies that often follow in its wake. While people might see or hear about drunk driving accidents from time to time, rarely do they hear about the role that reckless bars play in those accidents. In order to draw more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to investigating the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records and reporting my findings here on my website. If you believe you may have a dram shop claim, please call my office at (855) 326-0000.
Billar El Tapatio is a pool hall and bar located in Bryan, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted a significant amount of attention from the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, authorities conducted no fewer than six 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 Billar El Tapatio for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Billar El Tapatio Between 2018 and 2019
Bryan - 502 W William Joel Bryan Parkway
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 02/28/2018, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
Authorities looked into the matter shortly thereafter. 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 04/19/2018.
A second law enforcement complaint came on 09/14/2018, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to a patron who was already intoxicated.
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 01/10/2019.
Law enforcement reached out to the TABC once again on 02/22/2019, claiming that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
Upon investigation, TABC agents were able to confirm the allegation, which they classified as an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, they closed the case on 03/28/2019.
On 05/29/2019, a law enforcement complaint brought the TABC back to investigate once again. This time, the allegation was that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace.
Due to a lack of video evidence, authorities could not determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, they were left with no choice but to close the case, which they did on 05/29/2019.
Law enforcement lodged yet another TABC complaint on 08/06/2019, claiming that the bar again failed to report a breach of the peace.
On this occasion, investigators were able to find sufficient evidence to support the claim, which they classified as an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, authorities concluded their work on the case on 08/28/2019.
The next complaint from law enforcement came on 10/17/2019, alleging that a breach of the peace occurred.
Investigators looked into the claim and managed to determine that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace. Though authorities did not punish the bar, they did issue a written warning for failing to provide investigators with the requested records in a timely manner. On 11/15/2019, the case came to an end.
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.