Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Hideaway Lounge? 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.
Hideaway Lounge is a bar located in Pampa, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted a substantial amount of attention from the TABC due to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2018, authorities conducted no fewer than five investigations into alcohol service practices at Hideaway Lounge.
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 Hideaway Lounge for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Hideaway Lounge Between 2015 and 2018
Pampa - 112 E Craven Avenue
On 01/16/2015, the TABC received a complaint from law enforcement, alleging that two breaches of the peace (typically fights) took place.
TABC agents looked into the matter, but they failed to find any evidence to back up the claims. Unable to take any further action, investigators decided to close the case on 02/05/2015.
A staff member filed a complaint on 08/18/2015, charging that a breach of the peace occurred. While it might seem strange that a staff member would be the source of a TABC complaint, employees are in fact legally obligated to report any violations they see on the job.
The ensuing investigation was not successful at proving the allegation. With no other option available, authorities ended their work on the case on 09/28/2015.
Staff placed another complaint on 01/20/2016, alleging once again that a breach of the peace occurred.
Just as in the previous two investigations, authorities could not find any proof of wrongdoing, which left them unable to take action. As a result, the case came to a close on 03/30/2016.
A member of the Pampa community reached out the the TABC on 03/30/2017, claiming that the bar served alcohol to a minor 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 drinking, its ability to judge when to stop serving is impaired.
Authorities followed up soon after with 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 05/16/2017.
On 05/04/2018, law enforcement filed a complaint with the TABC, accusing the bar of allowing patrons to consume alcohol during prohibited hours.
TABC agents conducted an inquiry into the matter and found enough evidence to issue a citation for an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, authorities wrapped up their work on the case on 05/17/2018.
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.