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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Joe's Bar & Grill? 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.

Joe's Bar & Grill is located in Llano, Texas. In spite of being a small bar in a small town, it has managed to attract a disproportionate amount of attention from the TABC in recent years due to several allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than five investigations into alcohol service practices at Joe's Bar & Grill.

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 Joe's Bar & Grill for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of Joe's Bar & Grill Between 2015 and 2019


Llano - 107 W Main Street

Allegations:

On 02/26/2015, a concerned citizen reached out to the TABC and alleged that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Authorities followed up soon after with an investigation. 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. In this particular instance, authorities had neither. As a result, the case came to a close on 04/16/2015.

Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 12/08/2015, charging that the bar sold alcohol to a customer who was already over the limit.

TABC agents looked into the matter, but failed to turn up enough evidence to back up the claim. Even the word of a police officer is not considered sufficient for the TABC to take action. Without any other option available, authorities closed this case on 02/05/2016.

A second law enforcement complaint reached the TABC on 04/26/2017, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron and that staff was drinking on the job. The second allegation is more serious than it might appear at first glance. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to judge when to stop serving is impaired. 

Investigators found sufficient evidence to prove the veracity of both claims, but later dismissed the violations rather than handing out any punishment. On 06/27/2017, the case concluded.

Yet another law enforcement complaint, filed on 03/22/2018, accused the bar of allowing staff to sell drugs on the premises and of selling alcohol to a drunk patron.

Due to a lack of video evidence, the TABC could not establish the validity of the claims. With no other course of action available, authorities wrapped up their work on the case on 05/07/2018.

A citizen complaint, dated 07/19/2019, claimed the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Once again, authorities investigated but were not able to prove the claim. Consequently, they chose to close the case without further action on 08/28/2019.

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.