Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Cotulla City Limits? Here's What You Need To Know
I've sued more reckless bars for failing to adhere to liquor laws than anyone else in the state of Texas. With three decades of experience and hundreds of cases behind me, I have seen just how frequently bars put profit before safety and over-serve alcohol, in spite of their legal obligation to serve responsibly. While people might see or hear of drunk driving accidents from time to time, they don't tend to hear as much about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to raise more awareness of this topic, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and writing about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim, don't hesitate to call my office at (855) 326-0000.
Cotulla City Limits is a bar located in Cotulla, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities conducted four separate investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
In my three decades of legal practice, rarely have I seen bar end up involved in a wrongful death or injury case that didn't have a history of complaints on file with TABC. Almost every bar I've ever sued was already on the authorities radar, so when I see a bar that has been investigated several times over a short period, it raises my concern that it could one day play a part in an accident.
Note: Investigations are not proof of wrongdoing. However, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence, 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 Cotulla City Limits for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Cotulla City Limits Between 2015 and 2019
Cotulla - 408 N Main Street
On 09/17/2015, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that the bar permitted staff to sell or possess drugs, sold alcohol to a minor, and that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place, which went unreported.
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 10/24/2015.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 02/05/2016, alleging that a breach of the peace took place and that the bar failed to report it (a separate violation in itself).
The ensuing investigation was able to confirm that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace, which authorities classified as an administrative violation. After handing down a written warning, the TABC closed the case on 04/05/2016.
A second law enforcement complaint, filed on 02/02/2017, claimed that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person and that an unreported breach of the peace occurred.
As mentioned in the first 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 03/22/2017.
A member of the Cotulla community reached out to the TABC on 12/12/2019, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
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 02/18/2020.
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.