Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Rocky's Roadhouse? Here's What You Need To Know
I've been suing irresponsible bars for over-serving alcohol for 30 years. My experience handling hundreds of cases has repeatedly shown me just how many bars fail to follow alcohol service regulations, as well as the tragedies that all too often result. While people might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, they don't tend to hear about the role that reckless bars play in those accidents. In order to call more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to reviewing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records 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, don't hesitate to call me at (855) 326-0000.
Rocky's Roadhouse is a bar located in Waco, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than five investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.
In my experience, it is 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 cause 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 Rocky's Roadhouse for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Rocky's Roadhouse Between 2017 and 2019
Waco - 926 S Lacy Drive
On 01/11/2017, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, accusing staff of drinking on the job. This type of 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.
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 02/08/2017.
The TABC received an anonymous complaint on 04/25/2017, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
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 06/14/2017.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 06/19/2018, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred and that the bar failed to report it.
TABC agents conducted an inquiry, but due to a lack of video evidence, they could not determine the veracity of the claim. As a result, investigators could not take any further action, leading to their decision to close the case on 08/21/2018.
A second law enforcement complaint came on 04/17/2019, claiming that a breach of the peace took place and went unreported. Additionally, it accused staff of drinking on the job.
Even when the source of a complaint is a police officer, the TABC still requires corroborating evidence before taking any action. As investigators had none on this occasion, they were left with no choice but to close the case, which they did on 06/15/2019.
On 04/30/2019, a citizen complaint alleged that a breach of the peace occurred.
TABC agents subsequently conducted an inquiry and confirmed that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace, which they classified as an administrative violation. After handing down a written warning, authorities closed the case on 07/13/2019.
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.