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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against J.C.'s Whiskey River? 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.

J.C.'s Whiskey River is a bar located in Bonham, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2019, authorities conducted four separate 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 J.C.'s Whiskey River for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of J.C.'s Whiskey River Between 2017 and 2019


Bonham - 1216 Fm 273

Allegations:

On 02/03/2017, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron. Additionally, the complaint claimed the bar allowed patrons to both purchase and 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 03/24/2017.

A member of the Bonham community reached out to the TABC on 07/17/2017, claiming that the bar sold alcohol during prohibited hours.

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 08/06/2017.

The TABC received another citizen complaint on 09/26/2017, alleging that the bar was over-serving alcohol.

An investigation ensued, but due to a lack of video evidence, authorities could not determine the veracity of the allegation. With no other option available, the TABC decided to close the case on 10/14/2017.

Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 02/07/2019, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place and that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Even when the source of a complaint is a police officer, the TABC still requires corroborating evidence before taking any action. As authorities had none in this investigation, they decided to conclude their efforts on 03/14/2019.

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.