Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Murphy's Law? Here's What You Need To Know
I've sued more reckless bars for failing to adhere to liquor laws than anyone else in the state of Texas. With three decades of experience and hundreds of cases behind me, I have seen just how frequently bars put profit before safety and over-serve alcohol, in spite of their legal obligation to serve responsibly. While people might see or hear of drunk driving accidents from time to time, they don't tend to hear as much about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to raise more awareness of this topic, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and writing about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim, don't hesitate to call my office at (855) 326-0000.
Murphy's Law is a bar located in Bryan, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted a substantial amount of attention from the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2020, authorities conducted no fewer than five investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
In my three decades of legal practice, rarely have I seen bar end up involved in a wrongful death or injury case that didn't have a history of complaints on file with TABC. Almost every bar I've ever sued was already on the authorities radar, so when I see a bar that has been investigated several times over a short period, it raises my concern that it could one day play a part in 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 Murphy's Law for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Murphy's Law Between 2015 and 2020
Bryan - 107-09 N Main Street
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 11/03/2015, alleging two counts of staff drinking on the job.
Upon investigation, TABC agents were able to turn up evidence to support the allegations. After handing down an unspecified civil penalty, authorities closed the case on 12/19/2015.
A member of the Bryan community reached out to the TABC on 03/09/2016, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred and that the bar failed to report it (a separate violation in itself).
TABC agents looked into the matter shortly thereafter, finding evidence to back up both claims. After issuing two unspecified penalties for administrative violations, investigators closed the case on 04/07/2016.
On 08/02/2017, law enforcement filed a complaint with the TABC, accusing the bar of two counts of selling alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
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 shut the case on 09/12/2017.
Yet another law enforcement complaint, dated 08/22/2019, accused the bar of failing to report a breach of the peace.
Within four days of opening the case, authorities had already found sufficient evidence to support the allegation, which they classified as an administrative violation. After issuing the bar a written warning, the TABC closed the investigation 8/28/2019.
A concerned citizen lodged a complaint with the TABC on 03/17/2020, accusing the bar of selling alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated person.
Due to a lack of video evidence, investigators could not determine the veracity of the allegations. Unable to take any action, they were left with no choice but to close the case, which they did on 03/27/2020.
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.