Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Duke's Tavern? Here's What You Need To Know
I've been suing irresponsible bars for over-serving alcohol for 30 years. My experience handling hundreds of cases has repeatedly shown me just how many bars fail to follow alcohol service regulations, as well as the tragedies that all too often result. While people might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, they don't tend to hear about the role that reckless bars play in those accidents. In order to call more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to reviewing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records 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, don't hesitate to call me at (855) 326-0000.
Duke's Tavern is located in Katy, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2020, authorities conducted four separate investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
In my experience, it is 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 cause 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 Duke's Tavern for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Duke's Tavern Between 2017 and 2020
Katy - 1010 S Mason Road Space C
On 08/23/2017, a concerned citizen contacted the TABC, alleging that the bar permitted the possession of drugs on the premises, sold alcohol both to an intoxicated person and during prohibited hours, and that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place.
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 10/22/2017.
A member of the Katy community reached out to the TABC on 11/03/2017, claiming that staff was drinking on the job. This type of 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 11/29/2017.
The TABC received a citizen complaint on 08/08/2018, accusing staff of drinking on the job and selling alcohol to a drunk customer.
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 10/23/2018.
Yet another citizen complaint, filed on 04/23/2020, alleged that miscellaneous violations took place.
An investigation ensued, but authorities were ultimately unable to uncover sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to take any action. Consequently, the TABC decided to conclude its work on the case on 05/20/2020.
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.