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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Circle M Crawfish Club? Here's What You Need To Know

For three decades, I've been holding bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. In the hundreds of cases I've handled, I've seen 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.

Circle M Crawfish Club is located in Big Sandy, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2018 and 2020, authorities conducted five separate investigations into the restaurant'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 Circle M Crawfish for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of Circle M Crawfish Between 2018 and 2020


Big Sandy - 409 Hwy 155 South

Allegations:

On 02/23/2018, the TABC received an anonymous complaint, alleging that staff sold drugs on the premises, sold alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated person, and that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred.

Authorities looked into the matter shortly thereafter. 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 04/10/2018.

Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 09/12/2018, accusing the restaurant of serving alcohol to a drunk customer.

As mentioned in the previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing - even when the source of a complaint is a police officer. Since authorities had no such evidence in this investigation, they could not take any action, leading to their decision to close the case on 11/01/2018.

A member of the Big Sandy community reached out to the TABC on 06/10/2019, alleging that staff was drinking on the job, sold alcohol to both an intoxicated person and a non-member, and allowed customers to drink during prohibited hours.

TABC agents conducted an inquiry, but due to a lack of video evidence, they could not determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, investigators could not take any further action, leading to their decision to close the case on 07/27/2019.

The next citizen complaint reached the TABC on 11/13/2019, claiming that the restaurant sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron.

An investigation ensued, but authorities were ultimately unable to determine the veracity of the claim. Left with no other option, the TABC decided to conclude its work on the case on 12/03/2019.

Yet another citizen complaint, filed on 01/31/2020, alleged that staff was drinking on the job, sold alcohol to a minor, and that a breach of the peace took place.

Upon investigation, authorities were able to confirm that a breach of the peace occurred, which they classified as an administrative violation. After deciding not to hand down any punishment, the TABC wrapped up its work on 03/05/2020.

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.