In my 30 years of practice, I've held more bars accountable for over-serving alcohol than anyone else in Texas. With hundreds of cases behind me, I know firsthand just how widespread irresponsible alcohol service is, as well as the tragedies that often follow in its wake. 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 order to draw more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to investigating the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records and reporting my findings here on my website. If you believe you may have a dram shop claim, please call my office at (855) 326-0000.
Austin's Club Carnaval is a live music venue located in (you guessed it) Austin, Texas. Catering primarily to fans of latin music, the club brings a steady stream of artists from across Mexico and Texas for the large crowds that regularly come out to dance. While its recent renovations and colorful murals have attracted a lot of attention from locals, complaints about its alcohol service practices have led to a significant amount of attention from the TABC as of late. Over a three-year period, agents investigated Austin's Club Carnaval no less than four times for allegations of liquor law violations.
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 Texas Rose for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Austin's Club Carnaval Between 2016 and 2019.
Austin - 2237 E Riverside Drive #108
On 04/22/2016, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with TABC, alleging that the club allowed a minor to possess or consume alcohol. Authorities followed up with an investigation shortly thereafter.
For most liquor law violations, 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, it had neither. As a result, its agents concluded their work on 06/11/2016 without taking further action.
A member of the Austin community lodged the next complaint on 11/23/2016, this time claiming that the club sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
As in the first investigation, authorities had no video footage of the incident and consequently could not take any action. On 01/04/2017, they closed the case.
On 09/05/2018, a staff member contacted TABC and claimed that the club sold alcohol to a customer who was visibly intoxicated. While it might seem strange that a staff member filed the complaint, staff are legally required to report any violations they see.
An investigation ensued, but authorities could not find any evidence of wrongdoing that would stand up in court. After nearly two months of inquiry, TABC closed this case on 10/30/2018.
Law enforcement filed a complaint, dated 11/07/2019, that alleged that staff again sold alcohol to a drunk customer.
This time, authorities found enough evidence of both criminal and administrative violations to issue citations, though there is no mention of a penalty in the report. On 12/07/2019, the case concluded.
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.