Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The 407 Club? 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.
The 407 Club is located in Highland Village, Texas. In spite of its small size, it has managed to attract a disproportionate amount of attention from the TABC in recent years due to a number of allegations of liquor law violations. Over just four years, authorities conducted no fewer than six investigations into alcohol service practices at The 407 club.
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 The 407 Club for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of The 407 Club Between 2016 and 2019
Highland Village - 1856 Justin Road
On 05/12/2015, a member of staff got in touch with the TABC and alleged that the bar permitted consumption during prohibited hours. While it might seem strange that the source of the complaint was a staff member, by law employees must report any violations they see on the job.
Authorities followed up with an investigation soon 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. In this particular instance, authorities had neither. As a result, the case came to a close on 06/30/2015.
A citizen complaint, filed 09/15/2015, claimed that the bar permitted the possession of drugs on the premises.
Due to a lack of video evidence, authorities were not able to determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, the TABC closed this case on 11/11/2015.
The next citizen complaint came on 03/23/2016, charging that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk customer and that staff was drinking on the job. The second allegation is more serious than it might appear at first glance. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to judge when to stop serving is impaired.
The TABC looked into the matter, but they failed to turn up sufficient evidence of a violation to take any action. With no other option available, investigators decided to shut this case on 05/14/2016.
Law enforcement reached out to the TABC on 10/26/2018, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk patron and failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
The ensuing investigation uncovered evidence that substantiated the second claim. Authorities determined that two administrative violations had occurred and handed down civil penalties for a breach of the peace and the failure to report. On 12/14/2018, the case concluded.
On 02/22/2019, the TABC received a citizen complaint, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk person.
TABC agents launched an inquiry into the allegations, but were not able to locate any evidence of wrongdoing. Unable to take any action, agents decided to wrap up their work on the case on 04/10/2019.
A member of the Highland Village community reached out to the TABC, alleging that staff was drinking on the job.
As is often the case, the investigation that followed was not able to determine the validity of the claim. Since authorities could not take any action, they stopped working on the case on 10/29/2019.
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.