Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Herb & Dee's Breakroom? 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.
Herb & Dee's Breakroom is a bar located in Longview, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, authorities conducted no fewer than four 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 Herb & Dee's Breakroom for criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Herb & Dee's Breakroom Between 2019 and 2020
Longview - 1408 W Marshall Avenue, Suite A and B
On 04/01/2019, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that staff was drinking on the job, sold alcohol to a drunk person, and that gambling took place on the premises.
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 06/01/2019.
A member of the Longview community reached out to the TABC on 09/18/2019, claiming that staff was drinking on the job and allowed alcohol acquired at another retailer 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 11/14/2019.
The next citizen complaint to reach the TABC came on 11/13/2019, accusing staff of drinking on the job and selling alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated person.
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 01/07/2020.
The TABC received yet another citizen complaint on 01/06/2020, alleging that staff was drinking on the job, sold alcohol to a minor, and that gambling took place on the premises.
An investigation ensued, but authorities were ultimately unable to produce sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to take any action. Left with no other option, the TABC concluded its work on the case on 02/25/2020.
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.