Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Little Woodrow's? Here's What You Need To Know
I've been suing irresponsible bars for over-serving alcohol for 30 years. My experience handling hundreds of cases has repeatedly shown me just how many bars fail to follow alcohol service regulations, as well as the tragedies that all too often result. 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.
Little Woodrow's is a chain of sports bars that began in Houston, Texas, in 1995. It currently has well over a dozen locations throughout the state and is still expanding. Though Little Woodrow's has managed to create a booming business, it has had its share of encounters with the TABC in the process. Between 2015 and 2019, the chain had no less than twelve investigations into claims that it violated state liquor laws.
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, 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 Woodrow's for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Little Woodrow's Locations Between 2015 and 2019
Beaumont - 6210 Phelan Blvd
On 07/22/2019, staff filed a complaint with TABC alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already drunk. Authorities followed up with an investigation shortly thereafter.
In order to prove most claims, TABC needs to have either video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its own agents. Having neither in this case, authorities decided to end their efforts on 09/08/2019.
Later that same year, a concerned citizen placed a complaint against this location, claiming that the bar not only sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron, but to a minor as well.
Once more, an investigation followed, but authorities did not have video evidence to back up the allegations. As a result, the case concluded on 01/22/2020 without further action.
Lubbock - 6313 66th Street
The only complaint against this location came from law enforcement on 09/14/2019, and claimed that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
TABC looked into the matter, but after over a month and a half of investigation, they failed to find any proof of wrongdoing. Unable to take further action, authorities shut this case on 11/02/2019.
San Antonio - 606 W Afton Oaks Boulevard
A law enforcement complaint, dated 07/12/2018, alleged that staff at this location sold alcohol to a drunk patron.
An investigation ensued, but considering how difficult it is to substantiate such claims without video evidence, it's no surprise that the authorities efforts came to nothing. After three weeks of inquiry, TABC ended its work on 08/03/2018.
Midland - 3415 N Loop 250 West
A concerned member of the Midland community lodged a complaint with TABC on 03/06/2018, alleging that this location sold alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit.
TABC agents investigated the matter, but failed to produce any hard evidence. Thus, on 04/03/2018, this case concluded without further action.
Later that same year, on 10/03/2018, a second citizen complaint alleged that this location sold alcohol to an inebriated customer.
The investigation that followed had just as little success proving that a violation had occurred as the previous one. Lacking sufficient evidence to proceed further, authorities decided to drop the matter on 11/03/2018.
The third complaint against this location came on 06/20/2019, with law enforcement claiming that a staff member was intoxicated.
Authorities looked into the claim and were able to determine that an administrative violation had occurred. After handing down an unspecified penalty, TABC concluded its work on the case on 10/08/2019.
Austin - 9500 Ih 35S Building L Suite 100
On 03/03/2017, a concerned citizen alleged that this location served alcohol to a minor. TABC subsequently investigated to determine the veracity of the claim.
With no video evidence, authorities were unable to prove whether the event had occurred. TABC closed the case later that same day, which is slightly unusual, because investigations normally last at least a month, if not two.
Austin - 6301 W Parmer Lane Suite 501
On 07/30/2018, a citizen complaint charged this location with selling alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
As in the majority of these cases, authorities were unable to determine the veracity of the claim for lack of video evidence. With no other course of action available to them, authorities opted to end their work on the case on 08/24/2018.
Katy - 22225 Katy Freeway
A citizen complaint, received on 10/04/2018, claimed that this location sold alcohol to a patron who was already drunk.
TABC agents conducted an over two-month-long investigation into the matter, but as there was no video footage of the incident available, they were unable to take any action. On 12/22/2018, they closed the case.
The following year, on 08/26/2019, another citizen complaint accused this bar of selling alcohol to an inebriated customer.
As in the previous investigation, authorities could not locate any evidence of a violation. As a result, they shut the case on 10/13/2019 without taking any action.
On 08/27/2019, a citizen complaint again charged this location with selling alcohol to a patron who was over the limit.
For the third time in a row, TABC was unable to turn up any proof of wrongdoing. The very same day they received the complaint, authorities ended the investigation.
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.