Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Hat Tricks? 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.
Hat Tricks is a bar and grill located in Lewisville, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted a substantial amount of attention from the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than five 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 Hat Tricks for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Hat Tricks Between 2015 and 2019
Lewisville - 101 E Corporate 300
On 10/30/2017, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, accusing the bar of multiple violations, including: permitting the possession of drugs, staff drinking on the job, selling alcohol to an intoxicated patron, and allowing patrons to consume alcohol during prohibited hours.
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 12/15/2017.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 10/19/2018, claiming that staff was drinking on the job and allowed customers to drink during prohibited hours. 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 is drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.
As mentioned in the previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing. Since authorities had no such evidence in this investigation, they could not take any action, leading to their decision to close the case on 11/13/2018.
A member of the Lewisville community reached out to the TABC on 04/24/2019, alleging that the bar sold alcohol during prohibited hours.
Upon investigation, authorities were able to find sufficient evidence to prove the allegation, which they classified as an administrative violation. After issuing a written warning, authorities closed the case on 05/14/2019.
The next citizen complaint came on 06/18/2019, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a minor and an intoxicated person.
Due to a lack of video evidence, authorities could not determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, they were unable to take any action, leading to their decision to close the case on 08/03/2019.
A citizen complaint, filed on 11/13/2019, alleged that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
TABC agents conducted an inquiry into the claim, but they were ultimately unable to uncover any corroborating evidence. Left with no other option, investigators concluded their work on the case on 12/04/2019.
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.