Everything You Need to Know if You're Thinking about a Dram Shop Lawsuit against The Capital Grille
Having litigated more dram shop cases in the state of Texas than anyone else, I can say for certain that it's rare to see a bar sued for a dram shop violation that has not been previously investigated by TABC. Unfortunately, bars don't take their duty to cut off obviously intoxicated patrons seriously until their actions lead to a serious injury or death and a lawsuit results. In order to shine a light on bad bars before someone gets hurt, I have been compiling information from TABC investigation records here on my website. If you suspect that you might have a dram shop claim and have any doubts about what steps to take, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
The Capital Grille is an upscale restaurant chain under the Darden umbrella with an estimated annual revenue of $440 million. Six out of their nearly sixty locations are located in Texas alone. Within the last two years, they have found themselves under investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission on various occasions for alleged violations of Texas law.
It's important to remember that an investigation is just like a person getting arrested. It doesn't mean that they committed the alleged violation, only that authorities believed there was enough evidence to warrant an investigation. In fact, none of these bars should be presumed to have broken the law until they are convicted in court. By the same token, when action isn't taken against a bar, it could mean either that they are actually innocent of the charges, or that they committed wrongdoing and the agency simply didn't find enough evidence to convict them.
However, there's a reason that people say, "where there's smoke, there's fire." As I mentioned before, it's rare that I sue a bar that wasn't on the TABC's radar. Complaints like these can be a warning that it's only a matter of time until something bad happens. What follows below is a list of the TABC investigations of The Capital Grille locations in Texas that have taken place between 2018 and 2020.
The Capital Grille Locations Investigated by TABC Since 2014
Houston - 5365 Wertheimer Road
Upon receipt of an anonymous complaint, TABC began an investigation into whether this establishment had sold alcohol to a customer who was already inebriated. TABC initiated the investigation on 07/02/2018, but due to lack of evidence, the case was closed on 09/13/2018.
Less than a year later, an anonymous tip triggered another investigation beginning on 06/12/2019. Once again, it was alleged that alcohol was being sold to customers who were already intoxicated. Just like on the previous occasion, no hard evidence of a violation could be found, so TABC ended the investigation on 06/29/2019.
Dallas - 500 Crescent Court Suite 135
Following a report from an unnamed citizen, on 07/30/2018, TABC carried out an investigation of this location for allegedly supplying alcohol to an intoxicated patron. After failing to find any proof to substantiate this claim, the investigation was closed on 09/14/2018.
Texas Law Says Accident Victims Can Sue Bad Bars
A TABC agent whose work overlaps with mine has often said that, short of witnessing a bartender serving a drunk, there isn't much that they can do. Given that the TABC has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a violation has taken place before taking action, it comes as no surprise that many bars are able to get away with violations for years before being caught. Dram shop cases don't face these impossible barriers.
If you would like to learn more about Texas "dram shop" law (i.e. liqour liability law / lawsuits against bars who play a role in injurious or fatal accidents), please visit our Texas Dram Shop Law Info Page.