Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Wolf's? Here's What You Need To Know
My firm has handled more liquor liability (dram shop) cases than anyone else in Texas. With over 30 years of practice behind me, I can attest to just how many bars regularly fail to adhere to alcohol service laws, particularly when it comes to their obligation to refuse service to patrons who are already drunk. While the public might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it is much less common for it to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to increase people's awareness of this problem, I dedicate a portion of my time to researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database 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.
Wolf's is a sports bar located in the city of West, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC on multiple occasions due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2019, authorities conducted four separate 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 contribute to 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 Wolf's for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Wolf's Between 2016 and 2019
West - 120 E Oak Street
On 02/22/2016, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred.
Upon investigation, authorities were able to find evidence to corroborate the claim, which they classified as an administrative violation. After issuing an unspecified penalty, the TABC closed the case on 04/15/2016.
A member of the West community reached out to the TABC on 02/25/2019, claiming that staff was drinking on the job and selling drugs on the premises. The first allegation is more serious than it might appear on the surface. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff is drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.
TABC agents looked into the matter, but failed to locate any hard evidence of a violation. Unable to take any further action, they closed the case on 04/02/2019.
The TABC received a citizen complaint on 04/15/2019, claiming staff was drinking on the job, sold alcohol to a minor and an intoxicated person, in addition to allowing gambling on the premises.
After over a month of investigation, authorities still had not managed to turn up any hard proof of an administrative or criminal violation. On 05/18/2019, they decided to close the case.
On 12/09/2019, a citizen complaint alleged a litany of violations, including: staff drinking and selling drugs on the job, serving alcohol to a minor, a breach of the peace that went unreported, selling alcohol during prohibited hours, and gambling on the premises.
The ensuing investigation failed to find any evidence to back up the claims. With no other course of action available, authorities closed the case on 02/04/2020.
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.