Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Cujo's Sportz Bar & Grill? Here's What You Need To Know
I have been holding bad bars accountable for over-serving alcohol for the last 30 years. With hundreds of cases under my belt, I have seen over and over just how rampant this practice really is. While the public might hear about drunk driving accidents from time to time, it doesn't hear much about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. With the goal of calling more attention to this issue, I spend some of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and writing about my findings here on my website. If you believe you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim, please call my office at (855) 326-0000.
Cujo's Sportz Bar & Grill is located in Lubbock, Texas. After opening several other successful restaurants, owner and former NFL star Curtis Jordan founded the bar in 1999 upon returning to his hometown. It has since become very popular with sports fans, many of whom come to see the large private collection of sports memorabilia housed at the bar. Over the years, however, Cujo's Sportz Bar & Grill has had several encounters with the TABC due to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than seven investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
In my experience, it is uncommon for a bar that has no previous history of TABC investigations to end up involved in a dram shop case. Almost every bar I've sued was already on the authorities' radar. That's why I pay close attention to bars with multiple recent complaints on record. The more investigations a bar has had, the more concerned I become that it could one day play a part in a wrongful death or injury.
I want to emphasize that an investigation does not mean a bar did anything illegal. At the same time, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence of wrongdoing, that does not mean that a bar is necessarily innocent, either. Given the nature of liquor law violations, it can be difficult for authorities to uncover the evidence necessary for a conviction. What follows is simply a list of complaints against Cujo's Sportz Bar & Grill obtained from TABC's database.
TABC Investigations of Cujo's Sportz Bar & Grill Between 2015 and 2019
Lubbock - 5811 4th Street
On 01/05/2015, the TABC received a complaint from law enforcement that alleged the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
Authorities followed up soon thereafter 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; not even the word of a police officer is enough. In this particular instance, authorities had no way to corroborate the claim. As a result, the case came to a close on 02/12/2015.
Law enforcement placed another complaint on 02/10/2016, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer.
The ensuing investigation was able to find evidence to support the claim, which the TABC classified as an administrative violation. After issuing a violation notice, authorities opted not to hand down any punishment and decided to close the case on 03/15/2016.
The next law enforcement complaint reached the TABC on 01/11/2018, charging the bar with selling alcohol to a minor.
As mentioned in the first case summary, the TABC relies heavily on video evidence, which they did not have access to in this investigation. Unable to take any action, authorities decided to close the case on 02/06/2018.
A citizen complaint, filed on 04/17/2018, alleged that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk person.
Due to a lack of video evidence, the TABC's investigation was unable to corroborate the claim. With no other course of action available, agents ended their efforts on the case on 05/17/2018.
On 12/14/2018, a member of the Lubbock community reached out to the TABC and accused the bar of selling alcohol to a patron under the age of 21.
TABC agents looked into the matter, but were unable to determine the veracity of the claim. Consequently, the case concluded on 01/29/2019.
An anonymous complaint, dated 06/12/2019, charged the bar with delivering alcohol to an intoxicated customer.
Authorities investigated and found proof to substantiate the allegation, which they classified as an administrative violation. Though no penalty was handed down, TABC agents did issue a violation notice, after which they shut the case on 09/10/2019.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 01/14/2020, claiming staff was drinking on the job and sold alcohol to an intoxicated person. 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, which could result in over-serving.
For some reason, the investigation that followed lasted only one day, which is far shorter than the typical length of a month or two. Having found no proof of wrongdoing, authorities ended the case without taking further action on 01/15/2020.
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.