What Victims Should Know About Dram Shop Lawsuits Against Hooters
My firm has sued more bars for over-service than anyone else in Texas. That means I hear from a lot of people who don't seem to have a full awareness of just how serious this problem is in our state. To help raise the public's awareness, I decided to spend some time examining the records of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to see just how many complaints and investigations have been levied against major bar and restaurant chains in our state. If you would like to talk about a possible dram shop claim, I encourage you to give me a call at (855) 326-0000.
Hooters is a restaurant and sports bar that is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. There are approximately 430 Hooters locations and franchises worldwide, of those, about 64 are located in Texas. Hooters has an operating revenue of approximately $1 billion.
TABC or Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission conducted 18 investigations of Hooters since the start of 2017 regarding allegations of improper or illegal alcohol service. That means that roughly 1 out of 4 Hooters' Texas locations has found itself in the TABC crosshairs, in a little over a year.
Because some Hooters locations are owned by the corporation and some are owned by franchisees, it may be possible that some locations emphasize safe alcohol service more than others. However, the standard that is set when 1/4th of Texas Hooters locations have been accused of not meeting TABC guidelines seems to have bled into other franchises and locations. Here's a rundown of every investigation and its outcome.
Simply because a Hooters location was under investigation does not mean that they are guilty of any violation or infraction. If the TABC investigates a location and finds that there is no further administrative action needed, perhaps the allegations were false, or, there may not have been enough evidence to move forward with punishment. In short, just because an investigation takes place doesn't mean a crime occurred, and conversely, the end of an investigation doesn't necessarily mean the charges weren't true; the couldn't be proved.
Hooters Locations that Have Been Investigated Since 2017
Amarillo - 8101 I-40 West
On 01/09/2018, a law enforcement agency forwarded allegations that this location sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person to the TABC.
The investigation concluded with no citations on 01/17/2018, a mere 8 days after it began.
For whatever reason, this investigation seems to have been over before it began. The TABC usually takes at least a month to fully investigate a complaint, but this complaint was resolved in about a week. Perhaps, TABC investigators were able to quickly find evidence that the allegations brought forth by the law enforcement agency were unfounded. However, that would be tough to square with the fact that a trained law enforcement professional saw it reasonable to bring forth the allegations in the first place.
Arlington - 5821 I-20 West
On 02/07/2017, a private citizen contacted the TABC in regards to possible allegations of selling or serving alcohol to a minor.
The TABC did not find enough evidence to issue citations and the investigation concluded with no citations on 3/24/2017.
Arlington - 1511 N Collins St.
On 7/27/2017, a law enforcement agency alleged that Hooters sold alcohol to an intoxicated person. TABC launched formal proceedings to look at the matter.
The investigation concluded with no citations on 9/30/2017. This outcome doesn't come as much of a surprise. In the past, we've had TABC investigators tell us that short of the bar admitting they broke the law, or a TABC agent personally witnessing illegal behavior, the high burden of proof means that there isn't a lot that TABC can do in most cases like these.
Austin - 425 West Riverside Drive
On 10/11/2017, a private citizen informed the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that Hooters allegedly sold alcohol to an intoxicated person. TABC investigators found that Hooters had served an intoxicated person and failed to report a breach of the peace. Texas law requires alcohol providers to report any breach of the peace, a legal term of art that usually refers to fights or similar disturbances on the property .
The investigation was closed on November 17th of 2017. TABC levied a $600.00 against the bar.
Everyone may know someone who has a mood change or becomes more and more boisterous when under the influence of too much alcohol. Sometimes, a simple scuffle inside a bar can lead to a brain injury or ever worse. Bars and restaurants play an important role in making sure that they are not over-serving patron because, such as in this case, it could lead to a possibly dangerous situation.
Irving - 2522 North Belt Line Road
On 01/04/2017, a private citizen brought it to the attention to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that Hooters may have sold alcohol to an intoxicated person. Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission investigators closed the investigation on 02/07/2017, taking no further action.
On 11/03/2017 Hooters once again found themselves under investigation by the TABC the same alleged offense of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person. Curiously, TABC investigators came to the same conclusion that they had earlier that year. They found that there was not enough evidence to issue a fine or citation.
Killeen - 1501 E Central Texas Expressway
On 12/21/2017, a Hooters location in Killeen may have violated two alcohol safety laws when they were alleged to have sold alcohol to a minor and one of their staff was alleged to have been drunk while on the job.
The complaint was resolved on 1/30/2018 when TABC investigators found that there was not sufficient evidence that either of the two violations to take further action.
Remember, it is the responsibility of the server or bartender to monitor the alcohol intake of their patrons. If a server or bartender is under the influence of alcohol, how are they able to exercise sound judgement when monitoring the alcohol intake of their patrons? This is why it is so important that anyone serving alcohol always be clean and sober when they're on the clock. They have a responsibility, to not only their patrons, but, the general public not to serve drunks.
Lewisville - 1960 S Stemmons Freeway
On 07/24/2017, the Hooters located on S. Stemmons Freeway was alleged by a private citizen to have sold or served a person under the age of 21 years of age.
TABC investigators ended their investigation on 09/16/2017 without finding enough evidence to issue citations for criminal or administrative violations.
McAllen - 410 Hwy 83 East
On 04/19/2017, a private citizen alleged that Hooters had served alcohol to an intoxicated person.
The investigation was closed on 05/06/2017 after TABC investigators decided that there was no evidence of wrongdoing done by Hooters.
The, later that year on 09/20/2017, a Hooters employee was alleged to have sold or delivered drugs by a private citizen. Once again, TABC investigators did not find sufficient evidence that a Hooters employee had sold or delivered drugs and closed the case on 10/23/2017 with no criminal violations found.
Odessa - 2660 John Ben Shepperd Parkway
On 04/19/2017, a private citizen alleged that Hooters had served alcohol to an intoxicated person.
The investigation was closed on 05/06/2017 after TABC investigators were unable to uncover enough evidence to confirm the allegations.
Then, later that year on 09/20/2017, a Hooters employee was alleged to have distributed drugs.
Once again, TABC investigators didn't unearth sufficient evidence that illegal activity occurred and they closed the case on 10/23/2017, taking no further action.
Plano - 720 N Central Expressway
Staff at this location allegedly sold alcohol to an intoxicated person twice since the beginning of 2017. The first investigation by the TABC was launched due to a complaint by someone in the community on 01/04/2017.
That investigation was closed on 03/09/2017 with the TABC not finding evidence of criminal or administrative violations by Hooters. The second instance of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person was alleged by a law enforcement agency on 8/16/2017. Again, TABC investigators were unable to find evidence of malfeasance and closed that investigation on 10/01/2017.
It is interesting that this particular Hooters location has been accused of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person twice, not only by folks in the community, but, by law enforcement as well.
San Antonio - 9802 Ingram Road
On 07/12/2017, a private citizen alleged that the Hooters at 9802 Ingram Road had sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
TABC investigators couldn't confirm the charges of wrongdoing by Hooters and closed the investigation on 07/30/2017.
Seabrook - 1818 NASA Road 1
On 08/22/2017, an alcohol licensee, aka restaurant management, reported to TABC officials that they had sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
TABC investigators found that Hooters had not violated any criminal or administrative guidelines, thus, they wrapped-up their investigation on 10/29/2017. It makes one wonder, how can investigators not find sufficient evidence that a violation took place, when the whole reason for the investigation in the first place was a report from the restaurant that they messed up. I'm glad that restaurant management stepped up to the plate and self-reported, and that should buy them some leniency, but they got off scot free. That's not right.
Shenandoah - 19053 IH 45 S
On 11/03/2017, an investigation was launched by TABC investigators regarding an allegation that Hooters had sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
TABC investigators completed their investigation on 12/22/2017, unable to find corroborating evidence that the alleged sale had occurred.
Texas Law Says Accident Victims Can Sue Bad Bars
If you would like to learn more about Texas "dram shop" law (i.e. liqour liability law / lawsuits against bars who play a role in injurious or fatal accidents), please visit our Texas Dram Shop Law Info Page.