Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Little Bit of Texas? Here's What You Need To Know
For three decades, I've been holding bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. In the hundreds of cases I've handled, I've seen just how widespread irresponsible alcohol service is, as well as the tragedies that often follow in its wake. While people might see or hear about drunk driving accidents from time to time, rarely do they hear about the role that reckless bars play in those accidents. In order to draw more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to investigating the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records and reporting my findings here on my website. If you believe you may have a dram shop claim, please call my office at (855) 326-0000.
Little Bit of Texas is a night club located in El Paso, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted a substantial amount of attention from the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2020, authorities conducted no fewer than six investigations into the 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 Little Bit of Texas for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Little Bit of Texas Between 2017 and 2020
El Paso - 5500 Doniphan Suites A And B
A member of staff filed a complaint with the TABC on 03/28/2017, claiming that staff was drinking on the job, in addition to selling alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated patron. While it might seem strange for a staff member to be the source of a TABC complaint, employees have a legal obligation to report any violations they see in the workplace.
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 05/30/2017.
The TABC received an anonymous complaint on 06/30/2017, alleging that staff was drinking on the job and sold alcohol to a drunk customer. The first allegation is more serious than it might appear on the surface. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff is drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.
An investigation ensued, but as mentioned in the previous complaint summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most allegations of wrongdoing. Since investigators had no such evidence, they were left with no choice but to close the case, which they did on 08/28/2017.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 07/25/2018, claiming that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred.
Even when the source of a complaint is a police officer, the TABC requires corroborating evidence to back up most allegations of wrongdoing. Due to a lack of such evidence in this investigation, authorities concluded their work without further action on 09/19/2018.
On 08/17/2018, the TABC received a second law enforcement complaint, alleging that another breach of the peace occurred.
After two months of investigation, authorities still had not managed to find any hard evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. With no other course of action available, the TABC wrapped up its efforts on 10/20/2018.
A member of the El Paso community lodged a complaint on 02/13/2019, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.
TABC agents launched an inquiry into the matter, but ultimately, they were not successful at proving the validity of the allegation. Following two months of work, they closed the investigation on 04/15/2019.
Law enforcement got in touch with the TABC on 01/08/2020, alleging the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit.
As is so often the case, the TABC lacked the evidence necessary to substantiate the claim. As a result, agents were unable to proceed further, leading to their decision to close the case on 03/10/2020.
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.