Considering A Dram Shop Case Against El Zarape Bar? 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.
El Zarape Bar is located in Luling, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2018, authorities conducted three separate 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 El Zarape Bar for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of El Zarape Bar Between 2016 and 2018
Luling - 114 Walnut
On 12/12/2016, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred, and that the bar failed to report it (a separate violation in itself).
While the ensuing investigation failed to find any evidence to support the initial allegations, it did produce evidence that gambling took place on the premises and that an individual was in possession of an unauthorized alcoholic beverage, both of which authorities classified as administrative violations. After issuing written warnings, the TABC closed the case on 02/09/2017.
A member of the Luling community reached out to the TABC on 08/20/2018, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
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 10/10/2018.
The TABC received a citizen complaint on 09/24/2018, accusing staff of drinking on the job and permitting the possession of drugs on the premises. 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 11/14/2018.
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.