Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Southern Junction? Here's What You Need To Know
I've been holding bad bars accountable for over-serving their customers for 30 years. The hundreds of cases I've handled have shown me over and over just how rampant this practice is, not to mention the tragedies that it so often leaves in its wake. While the public might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it doesn't tend to hear as much about the role irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to draw more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and reporting 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.
Southern Junction is a nightclub, steakhouse, and country music venue based in Texas. With a location in Irving and one in Royse City, it has been hosting country music giants for crowds of up to 1500 people for over 25 years. In addition to the live music, dancing, and full bar, its patrons also have access to grills where they can cook their own steaks. While Southern Junction has a long history of success with Texans, it has also had its share of run-ins with the TABC for allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2018, agents conducted no fewer than seven investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
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 Southern Junction for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Southern Junction Locations Between 2015 and 2018
Irving - 101 N Rogers Road
On 08/03/2018, a member of the Irving community filed a complaint with TABC, alleging that the bar sold alcohol during prohibited hours.
TABC agents conducted an investigation, but after over a month of inquiry, they came up empty handed. With insufficient evidence to issue a citation, they decided to shut this case on 09/22/2018.
The next month, on 09/24/2018, a concerned citizen contacted TABC, this time claiming that the bar both sold alcohol to a minor and during prohibited hours.
The ensuing investigation was successful at proving that the bar sold alcohol after legal hours, for which it handed down an unspecified penalty. On 10/27/2018, TABC agents concluded their work on the case.
Royse City - 5574 Hwy 276
Law enforcement filed a complaint with TABC on 01/15/2015 that alleged that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
Authorities looked into the matter, but without video evidence of a violation or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents, it is virtually impossible for TABC to take legal action - even if the source of the allegation is a cop. In this particular instance, TABC agents had neither. Consequently, they decided to end their efforts on this case on 03/05/2015.
Another law enforcement complaint, dated 08/11/2016, accused the bar of selling alcohol to a customer who was already over the limit.
As in the previous investigation, authorities could not locate sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to issue a citation. As a result, on 10/09/2016, the investigation came to a close without further action.
On 05/24/2017, TABC received a citizen complaint alleging that the bar again sold alcohol to a drunk customer.
As there was no video evidence of the alleged incident, authorities were unable to determine its veracity. Having no other course of action available, they ended their inquiry on 07/18/2017.
An unnamed source reported this location to the TABC on 03/27/2018, charging that staff sold alcohol to a patron under the age of 21.
After well over a month of investigation, authorities did not manage to uncover any proof of a criminal or administrative violation. On 05/09/2018, the case concluded.
At the end of that same year, on 12/27/2018, a citizen complaint claimed that staff delivered alcohol to a patron who was visibly inebriated.
TABC agents followed up with an inquiry into the claim, but on 02/23/2019, they decided to close the case for lack of corroborating evidence.
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.