Considering A Dram Shop Lawsuit Against Razzoo's? Here's What You Need to Know
Having sued more bars than any other firm in Texas, we're pretty familiar with the costs that over-service exacts on our state. But we know that not everyone is in that position, which is why we try to do what we can to raise awareness about this major societal problem. For me, that includes looking through the TABC's complaint records and reporting my findings to the public. If you believe you may have a dram shop claim against an alcohol provider, I encourage you to call me at (855) 326-0000.
Razzoo's opened its first location in 1991 in Richardson, TX. The Cajun-themed company continued to expand throughout Texas and has experimental locations in select other states. Partnering with Goldman Sachs in 2017 to continue its growth, Razzoo's brings in annual earnings in the tens of millions of dollars.
With such brisk business there is a certain element of risk, since part of the chain's impressive profits come from alcohol service. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission conducted 6 investigations into allegations of improper service or handling of alcohol since the start of 2016.
Important Note: Simply because a Razzoo's location was investigated, it does not mean that they have displayed a pattern of violating TABC code. On the flip side, if investigators determine that the location isn't in violation of TABC code, that does not mean that the alleged violation didn't take place. At times, sufficient evidence required to prove that either criminal or administrative violations occurred is hard to come by. We are simply relaying reports of incidents made to the TABC by concerned citizens and law enforcement agencies.
Razzoo's Locations that Have Been Investigated by the TABC Since 2016
Fort Worth - 4700 Bryant Irvin Road
3/23/2018: A concerned citizen alleged that this location sold or dispensed alcohol to a minor, as well as selling or serving alcohol to an intoxicated person.
Investigators appear not to have found sufficient evidence to confirm the citizen's claims, and the investigation was closed on 4/21/2018 with no further action taken.
Tyler - 7011 S Broadway
1/06/2016: A member of the Tyler law enforcement community informed the TABC that this location had allegedly sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
Despite the claim originating with law enforcement, TABC officers were unable to find evidence to substantiate the allegations. The investigation was closed on 2/16/2016 with no criminal or administrative penalties assessed.
11/03/2016: A Tyler citizen reached out to complain that this Razzoo's location sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
Whatever the citizen may have seen at the time of the report, TABC investigators were unable to find enough evidence to merit any punitive action against the restaurant. The case was closed without dispensation on 12/28/2016.
Lewisville - 1990 S Stemmons Freeway
6/29/2017 : A patron of the Lewisville location notified the TABC that Razzoo's was engaged in some form of illegal outdoor marketing practice.
It may not seem like as serious a violation as over-service or pouring drinks for a minor, but advertising violations are still a point of concern for the TABC. Illegal marketing often involves drink specials that are not allowed according to state law; an example of this is offering "BOGO" specials of a second free drink with every one purchased. If a business uses drink specials to bring in a high volume of customers, who then drink much more than they otherwise would because the drinks are cheap and plentiful, the initial marketing practice is part of the overall problem.
The TABC concluded its "Marketing Practices Investigation" in this case by issuing Razzoo's a written warning for an "Outdoor Advertising Violation." No further action was taken and the complaint was closed on 7/10/2017.
Stafford - 12770 SW Freeway
9/27/2017: A Stafford citizen contacted the TABC alleging that this Razzoo's engaged in some form of business practice that violated state law.
These complaint reports are mildly frustrating because they are only conveyed by the agency as "Misc. Violations" on the ticket. It could have been a public nuisance complaint that didn't rise to Breach of the Peace levels, or maybe an accusation of using a moldy lime wedge on a tequila shot. We simply don't know; the information readily available to the public is severely lacking in further details, and the TABC website could use a tune-up when it comes to learning more about individual violations and their meanings within the agency's system.
Whatever specific event drove the citizen to make the initial complaint, it does not appear that TABC investigators were able to confirm it violated the law. The complaint was closed without dispensation on 11/15/2017.
Mesquite - 3712 Towne Crossing Boulevard
6/05/2017: A patron of the Mesquite Razzoo's claimed to the TABC that this location sold or served alcohol to a person younger than 21.
Without knowing circumstances it's hard to say how serious this possible violation might have been. The citizen might have allegedly witnessed a college sophomore with a bushy beard fail to be carded by wait staff, or maybe a server tried to sneak a drink to someone they knew from high school. We have no way of knowing what actually happened to trigger this complaint, and while speculation has its uses, I'd definitely prefer to have the concrete information.
Given that the TABC closed this complaint without further action on 6/27/2017, just three short weeks after it was initially opened, it doesn't seem like something that turned up much evidence of wrongdoing.
Texas Law Says Victims of Over-service Can Sue Bad Bars
If you would like to learn more about Texas' dram shop/liquor liability laws, we encourage you to take a look at our comprehensive page on the subject.