Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Doc Brown's? 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.
Doc Brown's is a bar located in San Antonio, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC on several occasions due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2019, authorities conducted five 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, it 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 Doc Brown's obtained from TABC's database.
TABC Investigations of Doc Brown's Between 2017 and 2019
San Antonio - 6511 Loop 1604 North West # 101
On 07/12/2017, the TABC received a complaint from a concerned citizen, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
Upon investigation, TABC agents found evidence to support the allegation, which they classified as both a criminal and administrative violation. Additionally, they found evidence of one count of public intoxication. After handing down an unspecified penalty, authorities closed the case on 08/23/2017.
A citizen complaint, filed on 07/25/2017, claimed that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred, and that the bar failed to report it.
Investigators were able to corroborate the initial claims, but also found evidence that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person, as well as one count of public intoxication. After handing down two unspecified penalties and one written warning, authorities closed the case on 10/27/2017.
A member of the San Antonio community filed a complaint on 08/08/2017, alleging that the bar permitted a minor to purchase and consume alcohol.
For most liquor law violations, the TABC requires either video footage or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to take action. In this investigation, authorities had neither, resulting in their decision to close the case on 08/18/2017.
On 07/09/2019, a citizen complaint alleged that staff was drinking on the job. This type of 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 drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.
TABC agents looked into the matter, but due to a lack of video evidence, they could not determine the veracity of the claims. With no other course of action available, they brought the investigation to a close on 08/06/2019.
Barely two months after the previous investigation ended, on 10/08/2019, another citizen complaint brought the TABC back to investigate an allegation of staff drinking on the job once more.
As in the previous investigation, authorities failed to uncover any hard evidence of wrongdoing, which left them unable to take any action. As a result, they concluded their work on the case on 12/06/2019.
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.