Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The Vault? Here's What You Need To Know
I have sued more bars for irresponsible alcohol service in the last thirty years than anyone else in Texas. Having handled hundreds of cases, I can attest to just how widespread the practice of over-serving customers is. 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 the interest of helping the general public see the real extent of this problem, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's record of complaints and posting about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) case, don't hesitate to call me at (855) 326-0000.
The Vault is a bar located in San Marcos, Texas. In recent years, the TABC has made a number of visits to the bar due to complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities conducted four separate investigations into alcohol service practices at The Vault, with three of them in 2019 alone.
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 contribute to an accident.
Note: Investigations are not evidence that a bar has broken the law. Investigators must have sufficient proof that there was a violation of TABC regulations in order to take legal action. Owing to the nature of liquor law violations, that proof can often be difficult for authorities to obtain. The purpose of this article is simply to relay publicly-available information about incidents where the TABC has investigated The Vault for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of The Vault Between 2015 and 2019
San Marcos - 100 W Hopkins
On 04/29/2015, a concerned citizen contacted the TABC, alleging that staff was drinking on the job and allowed a minor to possess or consume alcohol.
Authorities followed up soon after with an investigation. 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 06/26/2015.
A member of the San Marcos community reached out to the TABC on 02/08/2019, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place.
The ensuing investigation failed to turn up any evidence of a violation. Unable to take any further action, authorities decided to wrap up their work on the case on 04/04/2019.
A citizen complaint, filed on 06/24/2019, claimed that the bar served alcohol to both a patron under the age of 21 and an intoxicated person. Additionally, it alleged that staff was drinking on the job.
The TABC launched an inquiry into the matter, but after a month and a half of investigation, it was unable to determine the veracity of the claims. Consequently, investigators ended their efforts on 08/12/2019.
On 09/27/2019, law enforcement filed a complaint with the TABC and alleged that the bar sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person.
An investigation followed and found sufficient evidence to back up the claim. TABC agents issued citations for both administrative and criminal violations, though they did not hand down any punishment. On 11/20/2019, the case came to a close.
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.