Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The Dive? Here's What You Need To Know
I've been suing irresponsible bars for over-serving alcohol for 30 years. My experience handling hundreds of cases has repeatedly shown me just how many bars fail to follow alcohol service regulations, as well as the tragedies that all too often result. 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 reckless bars play in those accidents. In order to call more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to reviewing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's 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, don't hesitate to call me at (855) 326-0000.
The Dive is a bar located in Brownsville, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted a substantial amount of attention from the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, authorities conducted no fewer than four 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 cause 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 Dive for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of The Dive Between 2018 and 2019
Brownsville - 3000 Pablo Kisel Suite 200E
On 11/16/2018, a concerned citizen contacted the TABC, alleging a litany of violations. These included: staff drinking on the job, selling alcohol to a minor, serving during prohibited hours, and an unreported breach of the peace (typically a fight). 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.
Upon investigation, the TABC only found evidence to support the claim that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace. After the supervising investigator dismissed the violation, agents closed the case on 01/04/2019.
The TABC received a citizen complaint on 08/19/2019, claiming that staff was drinking on the job, permitted the possession of drugs on the premises, and allowed a minor to both purchase and consume alcohol.
An investigation followed 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, investigators decided to close the case on 10/04/2019.
A member of the Brownsville community filed a complaint on 10/17/2019, alleging that the bar allowed a minor to purchase and consume alcohol, in addition to permitted the possession of drugs on the premises.
TABC agents looked into the matter, but they were unable to uncover any proof of wrongdoing. With no other course of action available, they decided to conclude their investigation on 11/19/2019.
The very same day that the previous investigation ended, the TABC received another citizen complaint alleging multiple violations, including: staff drinking on the job, selling alcohol to a minor, allowing staff to sell drugs on the premises, failing to report a breach of the peace, and over-serving alcohol.
As in the previous investigation, authorities could not locate any definitive proof of a criminal or administrative violation, which led to their decision to close the case on 01/07/2020.
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.