Considering A Dram Shop Claim Against Pocket Billiards and Fun? Here's What You Need To Know
Over the last 30 years, I've worked to hold reckless bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. My experience handling hundreds of cases has opened my eyes to just how many bars consistently fail to follow alcohol service regulations. While people might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, they don't tend to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. Since most people don't do what I do for a living, I make an effort to share my insights in hopes of calling more attention to this issue. One way I do this is by periodically reviewing Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission complaint records and reporting my findings here on my website. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and have questions about how to proceed, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
Pocket Billiards and Fun is a pool hall located in El Paso, Texas. With a full bar, kitchen, and nearly two dozen tables, it has proven a popular spot for locals looking to shoot pool over a drink with friends. However, in recent years, Pocket Billiards and Fun has also attracted a significant amount of attention from the TABC for allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than eight 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 Texas Rose for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Pocket Billiards and Fun Between
El Paso - 9484 Dyer St Building B
On 03/21/2015, law enforcement placed a complaint with TABC, alleging that the bar permitted the possession of drugs on the premises. Authorities followed up shortly thereafter with an investigation.
In spite of the fact that the source of the complaint was a cop, TABC could not locate sufficient evidence of a violation to issue a citation. As a result, the case concluded on 05/07/2015 without further action.
Another law enforcement complaint, placed on 10/21/2015, charged the bar with selling alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
An investigation ensued, but authorities failed to produce enough evidence to prove a violation occurred. TABC requires either video footage of an incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to take action. Having neither in this particular instance, agents decided to close the case on 11/18/2015.
An unnamed source filed a complaint on 06/23/2016, claiming that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred.
The subsequent investigation did not uncover any proof of wrongdoing. Unable to take any action, TABC ended its work on the case on 08/07/2016.
On 10/19/2016, a concerned citizen lodged a TABC complaint alleging that staff sold alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit.
TABC launched an investigation into the matter, but after a full three months of inquiry, they were unable to find any evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. On 1/19/2017, the case concluded without further action.
A law enforcement agent contacted TABC on 03/28/2017, charging again that staff sold alcohol to a customer who was already drunk.
As in the previous investigations, authorities had no video evidence to corroborate the claim. Thus, on 06/19/2017, they closed the case.
On 10/11/2018, law enforcement filed another complaint. This time, they claimed that a breach of the peace occurred and that the bar failed to report it (a separate violation in itself).
TABC looked into the claim and was able to confirm that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace. After issuing a written warning, authorities closed the case on 10/13/2018.
A member of the El Paso community reached out TABC on 03/12/2019 and alleged staff sold alcohol to a minor. TABC subsequently investigated the matter.
Authorities were unable to find any evidence of a violation that would stand up in court. Having no other course of action available, they concluded their efforts on 05/06/2019.
A law enforcement complaint, filed 11/01/2019, charged that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
After more than a month of inquiry, TABC failed to locate any evidence capable of substantiating the claim. Consequently, on 12/12/2019, the case ended without further action.
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.