Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Old Santa Fe 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.
Old Santa Fe Lounge is a bar located in Amarillo, 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 four 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 Old Santa Fe Lounge for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Old Santa Fe Lounge Between 2017 and 2019
Amarillo - 4901 S Western 'A'
The TABC received an anonymous complaint on 07/11/2017, 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 08/31/2017.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 11/07/2017, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk customer.
Upon investigation, authorities were able to uncover sufficient evidence to confirm the allegation, which they classified as an administrative violation. After deciding not to hand down any punishment, the TABC closed the case on 12/12/2017.
On 10/03/2018, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that staff was drinking on the job and sold alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated person.
As mentioned in the first 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 12/04/2018.
The TABC received a second law enforcement complaint on 12/18/2019, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person and that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred.
The ensuing investigation found sufficient evidence for authorities to confirm that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace, which they classified as an administrative violation. After issuing a written warning, the TABC closed the case on 02/19/2020.
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.