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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against MJ's Saloon & Grill? Here's What You Need To Know

My firm has handled more liquor liability (dram shop) cases than anyone else in Texas. With over 30 years of practice behind me, I can attest to just how many bars regularly fail to adhere to alcohol service laws, particularly when it comes to their obligation to refuse service to patrons who are already drunk. While the public might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it is much less common for it to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to increase people's awareness of this problem, I dedicate a portion of my time to researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database 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.

MJ's Saloon & Grill is located in Amarillo, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, authorities conducted four separate investigations into the bar'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 MJ's Saloon & Grill for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of MJ's Saloon & Grill Between 2018 and 2019


Amarillo - 3705 Olsen Boulevard Unit A

Allegations:

Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 12/22/2018, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.

Upon investigation, authorities were able to confirm that, not only did the bar sell alcohol to a minor, but to an intoxicated patron as well. After handing out a written warning for what the TABC considered administrative offenses, the case came to a close on 02/26/2019.

A second law enforcement complaint, filed on 03/13/2019, alleged that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place and that the bar failed to report it (a separate violation in itself).

The ensuing investigation found evidence to support the first allegation, which authorities classified as an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, the TABC closed the case on 05/09/2019.

Yet another law enforcement complaint, filed on 06/05/2019, claimed that a breach of the peace took place.

While authorities did not find any evidence to support the initial claim, they did manage to prove that the bar sold alcohol to a minor, which they classified as both an administrative as well as criminal violation. After deciding not to hand down any punishment, the TABC closed the case on 08/04/2019.

The TABC received a fourth law enforcement complaint on 09/27/2019, claiming that a breach of the peace occurred and that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.

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 11/25/2019.

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.