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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Blue Bonnet Palace? Here's What You Need To Know

My firm has handled more dram shop cases than any other in Texas. With 30 years of experience behind me, I have seen countless examples of bars that fail to follow alcohol service regulations and the tragic consequences that can result. This issue is more rampant that people realize, and one of my goals is to bring it to the public's attention. One way I do this is by reviewing Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission complaint records and posting about my findings. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and want to know how to proceed, please call me at (855) 326-0000.

Blue Bonnet Palace is a bar and dance hall located in Selma, Texas. With both live music and DJs playing country & western hits, the bar has established itself as he go-to dance club with local fans of two-step. In recent years, Blue Bonnet Palace has also managed to attract a good deal of attention from the TABC due to a number of 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 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 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 Blue Bonnet Palace for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of Blue Bonnet Palace Between 2016 and 2019


Selma - 17630 Lookout Road

Allegations:

On 04/13/2016, law enforcement reached out to the TABC, claiming that staff sold alcohol to an intoxicated person and that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred, which the bar allegedly failed to report.

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 06/14/2016.

A second law enforcement complaint came on 07/27/2016, alleging that staff was drinking on the job and sold alcohol to a drunk patron as well as a minor. 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 itself is intoxicated, its ability to judge when to stop serving is impaired. 

An investigation ensued, but authorities were not able to turn up any evidence of wrongdoing. With no other option available, authorities decided to close case on 09/22/2016.

The TABC received a complaint from a concerned citizen on 01/29/2018, alleging that the bar both permitted a minor to possess or consume alcohol and sold alcohol to an inebriated patron.

As mentioned previously, the TABC relies heavily on video evidence to back up most allegations of wrongdoing. Since authorities found none during the course of this investigation, they could take no action and subsequently decided to wrap up their work on 03/14/2018.

A member of the Selma community got in touch with the TABC on 01/07/2019, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk person and that a breach of the peace took place.

Just like in the previous investigations, authorities could not determine the veracity of the claims due to a lack of video evidence. Consequently, the TABC closed the investigation on 03/06/2019.

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.