Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Red Baron's? 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.
Red Baron's is a night club located in Fredericksburg, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC on multiple occasions due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2020, authorities conducted five separate investigations into the club'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 Red Baron's for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Red Baron's Between 2015 and 2020
Fredericksburg - 515 Hwy St Suite B
On 07/16/2015, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person and that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place.
Upon investigation, authorities found evidence that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace, which they classified as an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, the TABC closed the case on 09/11/2015.
A member of the Fredericksburg community reached out to the TABC on 05/20/2019, claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk customer, permitted the possession of drugs on the premises, and that a breach of the peace took place.
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 07/20/2019.
The TABC received a third citizen complaint on 08/28/2019, this time alleging a litany of violations, including: permitting the possession of drugs on the premises, allowing staff to sell drugs, selling alcohol to an intoxicated person, staff drinking on the job, selling alcohol during prohibited hours, prostitution, and lewd acts.
As mentioned in the previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing. Since authorities had no such evidence in this investigation, they could not take any action, leading to their decision to close the case on 10/26/2019.
Yet another citizen complaint, filed on 12/02/2019, alleged that the bar allowed staff to sell drugs on the premises, sold alcohol to a drunk person, and that staff was drinking on the job. The last allegation is more serious than it might appear on the surface. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff is drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.
Due to a lack of video evidence, investigators could not determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, they could not take any further action, leading to their decision to close the case on 01/23/2020.
On 02/12/2020, a citizen complaint accused staff of drinking on the job, in addition to allowing gambling and the possession of drugs on the premises.
TABC agents conducted an inquiry into the matter, but they were ultimately unable to find any hard evidence to support the claims. With no other course of action available, they decided to close the case on 02/21/2020.
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.