Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Omar's Bar? Here's What You Need To Know
I have sued more bars for irresponsible alcohol service in the last thirty years than anyone else in Texas. Having handled hundreds of cases, I can attest to just how widespread the practice of over-serving customers is. 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 the interest of helping the general public see the real extent of this problem, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's record of complaints and posting about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) case, don't hesitate to call me at (855) 326-0000.
Omar's Bar is located in Port Lavaca, Texas. For a small bar in a small town, it has managed to attract a huge amount of attention from the TABC in recent years, due to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than seven investigations into alcohol service practices at Omar's Bar.
In my experience, it is 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 evidence that a bar has broken the law. Investigators must have sufficient proof that there was a violation of TABC regulations in order to take legal action. Owing to the nature of liquor law violations, that proof can often be difficult for authorities to obtain. The purpose of this article is simply to relay publicly-available information about incidents where the TABC has investigated Omar's Bar for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations into Omar's Bar Between 2016 and 2018
Port Lavaca - 1404 Broadway
On 08/27/2016, the TABC received a complaint from law enforcement that alleged the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
TABC agents conducted an investigation and found sufficient evidence to corroborate the claim. After issuing a written warning for an administrative violation, authorities closed the case on 10/20/2016.
A second law enforcement complaint came on 01/10/2018, accusing the bar of two counts of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.
The ensuing investigation turned up enough proof to back up the allegations, which resulted a civil penalty. On 02/28/2018, TABC agents closed the case.
Yet another law enforcement complaint came on 03/07/2018, alleging that the bar once again sold alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit.
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 05/03/2018.
A concerned citizen filed a complaint on 06/21/2018, charging that the bar sold alcohol to a minor, permitted the possession of drugs on the premises, and allowed staff to sell or possess drugs.
The TABC launched an inquiry into the accusations, but after two months of work, investigators failed to turn up any hard evidence of wrongdoing. With no other course of action available, the case came to an end on 08/21/2018.
Law enforcement lodged another TABC complaint on 05/02/2019, alleging the bar sold alcohol to a drunk person.
As mentioned previously, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing. Having no such evidence in this investigation, authorities could not confirm whether or not a violation occurred. As a result, they decided to close the case on 06/17/2019.
On 08/14/2019, law enforcement again alleged that the bar sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated patron.
Even when the source of a complaint is a police officer, the TABC cannot take action without video footage or eyewitness testimony from its agents. Having neither in this case, investigators chose to wrap up their work on 09/29/2019.
A law enforcement complaint, filed on 10/24/2019, claimed that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk patron, permitted the consumption of alcohol during prohibited hours, and that staff was drinking on the job.
After well over a month of investigation, authorities failed to find any hard evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. Unable to take any action, they chose to close the case on 12/06/2019.
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.