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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Pat's? 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.

Pat's is a bar located in Buchanan Dam, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted a substantial amount of attention from the TABC due to a number of allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2018 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than five investigations into alcohol service practices at Pat's.

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 Pat's for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of Pat's Between 2018 and 2019


Buchanan Dam - 7018 Rr 1431

Allegations:

On 03/22/2018, the TABC received a complaint from law enforcement, alleging that staff was drinking on the job. This type of 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. 

The TABC looked into the matter, but did not find sufficient evidence to back up the initial claim. However, agents did uncover proof that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person, which the TABC classified as both a criminal and administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, authorities closed the case on 05/07/2018.

On 09/26/2018, law enforcement filed a second complaint, again accusing staff of drinking on the job.

Upon investigation, TABC agents were able to confirm that an administrative violation had occurred, for which they dealt the bar an unspecified penalty. On 10/04/2018, the case came to a close.

A member of the Buchanan Dam community filed a complaint on 07/25/2019, alleging 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 08/28/2019.

Law enforcement reached out to the TABC on 10/02/2019, claiming that staff was drinking on the job.

The TABC launched an investigation and uncovered enough evidence to corroborate the claim. Authorities handed down an unspecified penalty for an administrative violation and subsequently closed the case on 10/18/2019.

Once again, law enforcement placed a complaint on 10/19/2019, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already drunk.

Though the ensuing investigation was able to turn up sufficient evidence to support the allegation, authorities chose not to hand down any punishment. On 12/31/2019, the investigation concluded.

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.