Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Honky Tonk Texas? 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.
Honky Tonk Texas is a bar and dance hall located in Silsbee, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted a substantial amount of attention from 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 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 Honky Tonk Texas obtained from TABC's database.
TABC Investigations of Honky Tonk Texas Between 2015 and 2017
Silsbee - 2389 Hwy 96 North
On 07/16/2015, the TABC received a complaint from law enforcement, alleging that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
The TABC looked into the matter and found evidence of two counts of failure to report a breach of the peace. After handing down unspecified penalties, authorities closed the case on 09/03/2015.
On 03/05/2018, a concerned citizen filed a complaint, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
Authorities followed up with an investigation soon 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 particular instance, investigators decided to wrap up their work on the case on 04/17/2018.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 03/01/2019, alleging that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace.
Upon investigating, authorities were able to determine the validity of the claim, which they classified as an administrative violation. After issuing the bar a written warning, they ended their work on the case on 03/05/2019.
A member of the Silsbee community reached out to the TABC on 04/04/2019, accusing the bar of a number of violations. These included: staff drinking on the job, selling alcohol to an intoxicated person, allowing patrons to consume alcohol after hours, and permitting gambling on the premises.
As stated in a previous report summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing. Having no such evidence in this investigation, authorities could not take any action, leading to their decision to shut the case on 05/22/2019.
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.