Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The Flying Walrus? Here's What You Need To Know
In the 30 years that I've been suing reckless bars for over-serving alcohol, I've handled hundreds of cases. My experience has shown me time and again just how many bars consistently fail to follow alcohol service regulations. While people might see or hear of a drunk driving accident now and then, it is less common for them to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. One of my goals is to increase the public's awareness of this issue. With that in mind, I dedicate some 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, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
The Flying Walrus is a pizzeria and bar located in McAllen, Texas. Known for offering live music and large slices of pizza at low prices, the bar has such a strong reputation with locals. However, in spite of its success, The Flying Walrus has also managed to attract a fair amount of attention from the authorities for allegations of liquor law violations. Over just a two-year period, TABC agents conducted no fewer than seven 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 cause 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 Flying Walrus for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of The Flying Walrus Between 2017 and 2019
McAllen - 204-06 17th Street
On 01/06/2017, an unnamed source filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
The TABC investigated the claim, but after nearly two months of searching, agents came up empty-handed. Unable to prove a violation took place, authorities ended work on the case on 03/03/2017.
A member of the McAllen community contacted the TABC on 01/27/2018, charging the bar with permitting a minor to possess or consume alcohol.
For most liquor law violations, the TABC requires either video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents. In this particular case, it had neither. As a result, the case came to an end on 03/10/2018.
The very next month, the TABC received another citizen complaint. This time, the allegation was that the bar served alcohol to a minor.
As stated above, the TABC relies heavily on video evidence to prove any allegations of wrongdoing. Once again, authorities investigated, but lacking sufficient proof to issue a citation, they closed this case on 04/28/2018.
On 09/12/2018, a law enforcement complaint alleging that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace brought the TABC back to investigate once again.
After little more than two weeks of investigation, authorities gave up on the case for lack of evidence on 09/28/2018. Typically, TABC investigations last at least a month (if not two), but a two-week investigation is not unheard of.
Yet another law enforcement complaint, filed on 10/02/2018, alleged that a breach of the peace occurred.
Authorities looked into the matter, but failed to find any hard evidence of a violation. Unable to take any further action, the case came to an end on 11/08/2018.
On 04/03/2019, a further law enforcement complaint charged the bar with allowing a member of staff to sell drugs on the premises.
An investigation into the matter followed, with authorities finding enough evidence to corroborate the claim. After handing down an unspecified penalty, the TABC wrapped up their work on the case on 04/30/2019.
A law enforcement officer lodged a complaint on 06/03/2019 which charged the bar with selling alcohol during prohibited hours.
The TABC worked for over two months on this case, but it was unable to turn up any proof of a violation. On 08/13/2019, the investigation came to a close without any 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.