Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The Garage Bar? Here's What You Need To Know
My firm has handled more dram shop cases than any other in Texas. With 30 years of experience behind me, I have seen countless examples of bars that fail to follow alcohol service regulations and the tragic consequences that can result. This issue is more rampant that people realize, and one of my goals is to bring it to the public's attention. One way I do this is by reviewing Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission complaint records and posting about my findings. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and want to know how to proceed, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
The Garage Bar is located in downtown Tyler, Texas. In addition to offering a full bar and kitchen, it is also a live music venue, complete with a stage and dance floor. Since opening in 2015, the bar has attracted positive reviews from locals. However, it has also attracted substantial attention from the TABC, due to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2019, authorities have conducted no fewer than five investigations into alcohol service practices at The Garage Bar.
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 Garage Bar for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of The Garage Bar Between 2016 and 2019
Tyler - 418 E Erwin Street
On 09/01/2016, a member of the Tyler community reached out to the TABC and alleged that the bar both sold and permitted consumption of alcohol during prohibited hours.
Authorities followed up soon thereafter with an investigation, but after nearly two months of work, they failed to find any evidence of a violation. For most liquor law violations, the TABC requires either video footage of an incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to take action. Having neither in this particular instance, investigators chose to close the case on 10/26/2016.
An unnamed source filed a complaint on 03/29/2018, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron under the age of 21.
The TABC looked into the matter, but lacking video evidence, agents were unable to confirm the validity of the claim. On 04/22/2018, the case came to a close without further action.
On 05/07/2018, an anonymous source filed a complaint that charged the bar with selling alcohol to a patron who was already intoxicated.
The ensuing investigation was not able to turn up any hard evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. As a result, authorities shut this case on 07/01/2018.
Another anonymous complaint on 12/19/2018 alleged that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place, in addition to accusing the bar of selling alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated patron.
As mentioned earlier, the TABC relies heavily on video evidence in order to determine the veracity of most allegations. In this instance, investigators had none, which led to their decision to close this case on 01/18/2019.
On 03/28/2019, a citizen complaint led to another TABC investigation, this time for a breach of the peace.
TABC agents subsequently carried out an inquiry into the claim. However, due to a lack of video evidence, they were unable to confirm whether a violation took place. Unable to take any further action, they wrapped up their work on the case on 05/08/2019.
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.