Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Volcano's? 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.
Volcano's is a sports bar and grill located in Hurst, Texas. In addition to its food and drink offerings, it is known for hosting various bar-game leagues and tournaments for its patrons. While it has established a strong local following, it has also managed to attract a significant amount of attention from the TABC in recent years, due to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2018, authorities conducted no fewer than six investigations into alcohol service practices at Volcano's.
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 Volcano's for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Volcano's Between 2015 and 2018
Hurst - 129 E Harwood
Law enforcement filed a complaint with the TABC on 08/18/2015, alleging that the bar allowed patrons to consume alcohol during prohibited hours and allowed the removal of alcoholic beverages from the premises.
Authorities followed up with an investigation, but failed to find any evidence to corroborate the claims. However, the investigation did uncover evidence that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight), which the TABC classified as an administrative violation. After issuing a written warning, authorities closed the case on 09/15/2015.
A concerned citizen reached out to the TABC on 10/01/2015, alleging that staff was drinking on the job. This type of allegation is more serious than it might appear at first glance. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to judge when to stop serving is impaired.
After spending nearly two months on the case, authorities were unable to turn up any evidence of a violation. With no other course of action available, they decided to end the investigation on 11/24/2015.
On 03/22/2016, law enforcement got in touch with the TABC, charging that a breach of the peace took place and the bar failed to report it, in addition to claiming that staff was intoxicated.
TABC agents subsequently looked into the matter. 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 05/19/2016.
A member of the Hurst community lodged a complaint on 06/12/2017, claiming that staff was drinking on the job.
The ensuing investigation was not successful at determining the veracity of the claim. Since authorities could not take any action, they chose to wrap up their work on the case on 08/05/2017.
The next complaint came from an unnamed source on 03/23/2018, alleging again that staff was intoxicated.
While the investigation that followed did not produce any corroborating evidence, it did find proof that staff sold alcohol to a patron who was already drunk. Though the TABC classifies this as an administrative violation, it did not hand down any punishment in this case. On 04/18/2018, authorities ended the investigation.
Yet another citizen complaint, placed on 12/20/2018, accused staff of being drunk.
Due to a lack of video evidence, authorities could prove whether or not any wrongdoing took place. Unable to take any action, they chose to close the case on 01/18/2019.
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.