Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Island Club? Here's What You Need To Know
Over the last 30 years, I've worked to hold reckless bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. My experience handling hundreds of cases has opened my eyes to just how many bars consistently fail to follow alcohol service regulations. While people might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, they don't tend to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. Since most people don't do what I do for a living, I make an effort to share my insights in hopes of calling more attention to this issue. One way I do this is by periodically reviewing Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission complaint records and reporting my findings here on my website. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and have questions about how to proceed, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
Island Club is a sports bar located in Dallas, Texas. It has long been popular with locals who come to play pool, darts, shuffleboard, and socialize over a drink. Over the last few years, however, it has managed to attract a good deal of attention from the TABC, thanks to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than four investigations into Island Club's alcohol service practices.
In my experience, it's uncommon for a bar without a history of run-ins with the TABC to end up on the hook for contributing to a wrongful death or injury. Virtually every bar I have ever sued was already on the authorities' radar. That's why I pay close attention to bars with several recent complaints against them. The more investigations a bar has had, the greater my concern is that it could one day contribute to an accident.
Note: Investigations are not proof of wrongdoing. However, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence of a violation, 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 Island Club for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Island Club Between 2017 and 2019
Dallas - 10834 Ferguson Road
On 12/04/2017, an anonymous individual filed a complaint alleging that a staff member was drinking on the job and that the bar permitted the possession of drugs on the premises. The first allegation is more serious than it might appear on the surface. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to customers who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If the staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to perform this essential function is compromised.
The TABC followed up with an investigation shortly thereafter, but could not determine the validity of the claims. 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, authorities decided to close the case on 01/30/2018.
A concerned citizen filed a complaint with TABC on 02/02/2018, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a person who was already over the limit.
The ensuing investigation was not able to determine the veracity of this claim due to a lack of video evidence. As a result, the TABC shut this case on 03/15/2018 without taking any further action.
On 10/29/2018, a member of the Dallas community reached out to the TABC and accused the bar of selling alcohol to both a minor and a drunk patron.
As in the previous investigations, authorities could not locate any video evidence to back up the claims. Consequently, TABC agents ended their work on the case on 11/29/2018.
A citizen complaint, dated 02/12/2019, alleged that not only was a staff member drinking on the job, but the bar also permitted the possession of drugs on the premises and sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
Authorities looked into the matter, but failed to turn up any evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. Having no other course of action available, they closed this case on 04/09/2019.
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.