Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Voodoo Hut? Here's What You Need To Know
I've sued more reckless bars for failing to adhere to liquor laws than anyone else in the state of Texas. With three decades of experience and hundreds of cases behind me, I have seen just how frequently bars put profit before safety and over-serve alcohol, in spite of their legal obligation to serve responsibly. While people might see or hear of drunk driving accidents from time to time, they don't tend to hear as much about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to raise more awareness of this topic, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and writing about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim, don't hesitate to call my office at (855) 326-0000.
Voodoo Hut is a bar located in Kemah, 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 seven investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
In my three decades of legal practice, rarely have I seen bar end up involved in a wrongful death or injury case that didn't have a history of complaints on file with TABC. Almost every bar I've ever sued was already on the authorities radar, so when I see a bar that has been investigated several times over a short period, it raises my concern that it could one day play a part in 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 Voodoo Hut for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Voodo Hut Between 2018 and 2019
Kemah - 511 Bradford Avenue
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 05/31/2018, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to an intoxicated customer.
Authorities looked into the matter shortly thereafter. Even when a police officer is the source of a complaint, 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 in this investigation, authorities decided to close the case on 07/16/2018.
A staff member filed a complaint on 08/16/2018, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place. While it might seem strange for a staff member to be the source of a TABC complaint, employees have a legal obligation to report any violations they see in the workplace.
As mentioned in the previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing. Since authorities had no such evidence in this investigation, they could not take any action, leading to their decision to close the case on 08/28/2018.
The TABC received a second law enforcement complaint on 08/29/2018, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
Due to a lack of video evidence, investigators could not determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, they could not take any further action, leading to their decision to close the case on 11/02/2018.
The next complaint came from a staff member on 01/22/2019 , and claimed that a breach of the peace occurred.
Once again, authorities investigated, but they ultimately found no evidence to back up the claim. Unable to take any further action, they decided to end their work on the case on 02/20/2019.
A law enforcement complaint, dated 06/06/2019, accused the bar of selling alcohol to a customer who was already intoxicated.
As is so often the case, the ensuing investigation was unsuccessful at uncovering any evidence of wrongdoing. Consequently, on 08/10/2019, the TABC decided to bring this case to a close.
Yet another complaint from staff reached the TABC on 07/25/2019. As per usual, it claimed a breach of the peace occurred.
TABC agents conducted an inquiry into the claim, but they could not find any corroborating evidence. With no other option available, authorities concluded their work on 08/02/2019.
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.