Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Old Town Saloon? 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 Town Saloon is a bar located in Wichita Falls, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2016 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 Town Saloon for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Old Town Saloon Between 2016 and 2019
Wichita Falls - 4014 Call Field Road
On 01/13/2016, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that the bar allowed customers to consume alcohol during prohibited hours.
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 03/10/2016.
A member of the Wichita Falls community reached out to the TABC on 03/10/2016, claiming that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred, and that the bar failed to report it (a separate violation in itself).
The ensuing investigation found sufficient evidence to confirm that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace, which authorities classified as an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, the TABC closed the case on 05/07/2016.
The TABC received another citizen complaint on 08/31/2016, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to both a minor and a drunk customer.
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 10/25/2016.
A citizen complaint, filed on 09/18/2019, alleged 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.
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 10/17/2019.
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.