Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Jesters On Lasalle? Here's What You Need To Know
My firm has sued more bars for liquor law violations - such as over-serving alcohol to their patrons - than any other in Texas. In my 30 years of practice, I have repeatedly seen just how rampant this problem is, as well as the tremendous damage it often causes. While people might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it is far less common for them to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. With that in mind, I periodically review the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records and report my findings here on my website. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and want to know how to proceed, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
Jesters On Lasalle is a bar and grill located in Waco, Texas. Since its founding in 2006, many locals know it for offering good music, cocktails, and barbecue. The TABC, on the other hand, knows Jesters On Lasalle for the several complaints that it has received in recent times alleging the bar violated state liquor laws. Over just a three-year period, authorities conducted no fewer than six investigations into its alcohol service practices.
In my experience, it is 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 cause 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 Jesters On Lasalle for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Jesters On Lasalle Between 2016 and 2019
Waco - 2119 La Salle Avenue
A concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC on 02/24/2016, alleging several violations: selling alcohol to an intoxicated person, staff drinking on the job, 'miscellaneous violations', and allowing gambling on the premises.
The TABC followed up shortly thereafter with an investigation, but did not find any evidence to corroborate the claims. For most violations, the TABC requires either video evidence 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 end their work on the case on 04/22/2016.
On 07/07/2017, a law enforcement official contacted the TABC, claiming that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
Authorities looked into the matter and were able to determine that the bar had committed an administrative violation. After issuing a citation and handing down an unspecified penalty, the TABC closed this case on 07/19/2017.
The next complaint came from a member of the Waco community on 11/29/2017, who alleged that the bar permitted the possession of drugs on the premises and sold alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit.
As mentioned earlier, the TABC relies heavily on video evidence to establish the validity of most allegations. Due to a lack of such evidence in this case, authorities were unable to take any action. As a result, the investigation came to an end on 02/06/2018.
On 11/09/2018, a citizen complaint alleged that a breach of the peace occurred and that a staff member was drinking on the job. This second allegation is more serious than it might appear on the surface. Staff is legally obligated to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If the staff is itself intoxicated, its ability to perform this essential function is compromised.
TABC agents looked into the matter, but as is all too often the case, they found no evidence capable of standing up in court. Thus, on 01/08/2019, the case ended with no further action taken.
A further citizen complaint, filed on 01/03/2019, claimed that the bar served alcohol to a patron under the age of 21.
Authorities could not find any corroborating evidence to support the claim after a month and a half of investigation. On 03/19/2019, agents shut the case without taking further action.
On 06/03/2019, yet another concerned citizen reached out to the TABC and charged that staff was drinking on the job, served alcohol to an underage patron, sold drugs on the premises, and that a breach of the peace occurred.
After nearly two months of investigation, authorities found sufficient evidence to prove a breach of the peace occurred and that the bar failed to report it. After issuing two citations for administrative violations (both of which were dismissed by a supervising agent), the case came to an end on 08/02/2019.
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.