Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The BARR? Here's What You Need To Know
I've sued more reckless bars for failing to adhere to liquor laws than anyone else in the state of Texas. With three decades of experience and hundreds of cases behind me, I have seen just how frequently bars put profit before safety and over-serve alcohol, in spite of their legal obligation to serve responsibly. While people might see or hear of drunk driving accidents from time to time, they don't tend to hear as much about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to raise more awareness of this topic, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and writing about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim, don't hesitate to call my office at (855) 326-0000.
The BARR is a bar located in Longview, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC on multiple occasions due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2020, authorities conducted four separate investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
In my three decades of legal practice, rarely have I seen bar end up involved in a wrongful death or injury case that didn't have a history of complaints on file with TABC. Almost every bar I've ever sued was already on the authorities radar, so when I see a bar that has been investigated several times over a short period, it raises my concern that it could one day play a part in an accident.
Note: Investigations are not proof of wrongdoing. However, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence, 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 BARR for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of The BARR Between 2016 and 2020
Longview - 3124 Estes Parkway
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 05/27/2016, alleging that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
Upon investigation, TABC agents were able to confirm the allegation, which they classified as an administrative violation. After issuing the bar a written warning, they closed the case on 07/21/2016.
The TABC received an anonymous complaint on 02/23/2018, claiming that staff was drinking on the job and permitted the possession of drugs on the premises. The first 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.
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 04/12/2018.
A second law enforcement complaint, filed on 07/05/2018, alleged that an unreported breach of the peace occurred and that the bar served alcohol to an intoxicated customer.
The ensuing investigation was able to confirm that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace, which the TABC considered an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, authorities closed the case on 08/28/2018.
Yet another law enforcement complaint, filed on 02/25/2020, accused the bar of selling alcohol to a drunk person.
Even when the source of a complaint is a police officer, the TABC still requires corroborating evidence before taking action. Due to a lack of such evidence, investigators could not determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, they could not take any further action, leading to their decision to close the case on 03/10/2020.
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.