Considering A Dram Shop Claim Against Sambuca 360? Here's What You Need To Know
In the 30 years that I've been suing reckless bars for over-serving alcohol, I've handled hundreds of cases. My experience has shown me time and again just how many bars consistently fail to follow alcohol service regulations. While people might see or hear of a drunk driving accident now and then, it is less common for them to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. One of my goals is to increase the public's awareness of this issue. With that in mind, I dedicate some 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, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
Sambuca 360 is an upscale bar and grill located in Plano, Texas. In addition to its unique brand of American cuisine, the restaurant offers patrons live musical performances every night -a legacy it carries from its early days as a jazz club. Since opening in 2004, its popularity has soared, but so has the number of complaints against it alleging liquor law violations. Over just a three-year period, the TABC conducted no fewer than nine investigations into Sambuca 360's alcohol service practices.
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 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 Sambuca 360 for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Sambuca 360 Between 2015 and 2018
Plano - 7204 Bishop Road Suite B12
On 02/13/2015, law enforcement filed a complaint with TABC, alleging that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
Authorities investigated and succeeded in corroborating the claim, which they classified as an administrative violation. After issuing a written warning, agents closed the case on 02/18/2015.
TABC received another law enforcement complaint on 10/20/2015, this time alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
The ensuing investigation was unable to turn up any evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. Consequently, authorities decided to shut this case on 12/05/2015.
On 01/12/2016, law enforcement contacted TABC and charged that a member of staff was drinking on the job. This allegation is more serious than it might appear on the surface. Staff have a duty to watch out for signs of intoxication in guests and to stop serving alcohol to those who exhibit them. If the staff itself is drinking, its ability to perform this essential function is compromised.
After over a month of investigation, TABC agents had not found any proof to substantiate the claim. On 02/17/2016, the case concluded without any further action.
Law enforcement contacted TABC on 06/03/2016, once again alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a customer who was already over the limit.
In order to prove this kind of allegation, TABC needs either video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents. Having neither in this particular instance, TABC was unable to take any action. On 07/05/2016, authorities ended their work on the case.
On 03/24/2017, a law enforcement officer lodged a complaint with TABC, again claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk customer.
Just like in the previous case, authorities had no video evidence and were thus unable to prove that any violation had occurred. As a result, this investigation came to an end on 05/11/2017.
The next law enforcement complaint, filed on 07/25/2017, accused the bar of allowing a drunk patron to purchase more alcohol.
The ensuing investigation was no more successful at finding evidence of wrongdoing than the previous two, so TABC agents decided to conclude their work on this case on 09/10/2017.
Law enforcement placed another complaint on 08/10/2017, only this time, there were two charges: selling alcohol to a drunk patron and staff drinking on the job.
As is so often the case, investigators did not have any video evidence to corroborate the claim. After over two weeks of inquiry, they decided to stop working on the case on 08/25/2017.
On 10/06/2017, TABC received a complaint from law enforcement that claimed the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
After over a month of investigation, authorities could not find enough evidence of a violation to take any action. Thus, on 11/18/2017, the case concluded.
A citizen complaint, received on 07/09/2018, charged the bar with selling alcohol to a drunk person.
TABC looked into the matter, this time finding sufficient evidence to issue a citation for a criminal violation as well as for an administrative violation. For some reason, authorities handed down no punishment for the violations. On 07/31/2018, the case came to an end.
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.