Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Ditzy Duck? 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.
Ditzy Duck is a bar located in El Paso, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2019, 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 Ditzy Duck for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Ditzy Duck Between 2017 and 2019
El Paso - 207 Cincinnati Avenue
On 03/07/2017, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a minor and failed to report a breach of the peace.
Upon investigating, authorities found evidence to support the second claim. Additionally, they found proof that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit. After issuing the bar a written warning for an administrative violation, TABC agents closed the case on 04/16/2017.
A member of the El Paso community reached out to the TABC on 03/24/2017, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to an underage patron.
While the investigation that followed was not able to prove the initial allegation, it did manage to find evidence that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person, which the TABC classified as an administrative violation. After deciding not to hand down any punishment, authorities closed the case on 04/25/2017.
Law enforcement filed a complaint with the TABC on 06/21/2017, claiming that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace.
The ensuing investigation was not successful at turning up any evidence to support the allegation. As authorities were left with no other course of action, they concluded their efforts on 07/17/2017.
On 02/27/2019, a citizen complaint alleged that the bar permitted a minor to possess or consume alcohol.
The TABC launched an inquiry into the allegation soon thereafter, finding evidence of two counts of minors possessing or consuming alcohol and one count of permitting a minor to possess or consume alcohol. From the report, it appears that the TABC declined to punish the bar for the violations, instead choosing to close the case on 04/03/2019.
Law enforcement filed a complaint with the TABC on 05/23/2019, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to a drunk person.
Even when the source of a complaint is a police officer, the TABC still typically requires corroborating evidence before it can take action. Since agents had none to support the allegation, they had no choice but to end their investigation, which they did on 08/28/2019.
On 09/20/2019, law enforcement contacted the TABC, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already intoxicated.
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 11/22/2019.
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.