Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Bubba's Lounge? 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.
Bubba's Lounge is located in Dumas, Texas. With several pool tables, juke boxes, darts, shuffleboard, and two dance floors, it is known locally as a popular place for a night out. The TABC, on the other hand, is more familiar with the bar as a result of a number of recent complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019, its agents conducted five investigations into alcohol service practices at Bubba's Lounge.
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 Bubba's Lounge for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Bubba's Lounge Between 2015 and 2019
Dumas - 1712 S Dumas Avenue
On 11/21/2015, the TABC received a complaint from law enforcement, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person, that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred, and that the bar failed to report the breach.
Authorities subsequently launched an investigation. 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. In this particular instance, authorities had neither. As a result, the case came to a close on 12/09/2015.
Law enforcement reached out to the TABC once again on 05/10/2016, alleging that a breach of the peace occurred and that staff was drinking on the job. The second allegation is more serious than it might appear at first glance. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to judge when to stop serving is impaired.
After nearly two months of investigation, authorities failed to turn up any evidence to corroborate the claims. With no further course of action available, they decided to shut this case on 07/05/2016.
On 09/20/2016, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated patron.
The ensuing investigation was unable to determine the validity of the claims due to a lack of video evidence. As a result, TABC agents could not take any action and closed this case on 10/06/2016.
Another law enforcement complaint, filed on 03/28/2017, alleged that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace.
This time, the investigation that followed was able to prove the claim. After issuing a written warning for an administrative violation, authorities closed this case on 06/25/2017.
On 05/02/2018, the TABC received a further complaint from law enforcement, this time charging that a breach of the peace occurred and that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk patron.
The TABC looked into the matter, but agents had no luck at finding evidence to back up the allegations. Consequently, the investigation came to a close without further action on 07/05/2018.
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.