Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Sawdust Saloon? 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.
Sawdust Saloon is located in Beaumont, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than six 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 Sawdust Saloon for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Sawdust Saloon Between 2016 and 2019
Beaumont - 4680 Fannett Road
On 09/12/2016, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC alleging that staff was drinking on the job, sold drugs on the premises, sold alcohol to an intoxicated person, and that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred.
Upon investigation, authorities were only able to confirm that a breach of the peace took place and that the bar failed to report it, both of which were classified as administrative violations. After handing down unspecified penalties, the TABC concluded its work on the case on 10/21/2016.
A member of the Beaumont community reached out to the TABC on 01/17/2017, alleging that the bar allowed a minor to both purchase and consume alcohol.
While investigators were not able to prove either of the initial allegations, they did find evidence that the bar sold alcohol to a drunk person and allowed an alcohol beverage to be removed from the premises. After handing down a written warning, authorities closed the case on 02/03/2017.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 04/21/2017, claiming that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace.
The ensuing investigation found sufficient evidence for authorities to issue an unspecified penalty for administrative violations. On 05/02/2017, the TABC concluded its work on the case.
A citizen complaint, filed on 08/24/2017, claimed that the bar sold alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated person, in addition to allowing the possession of drugs on the premises.
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 10/17/2017.
Yet another citizen complaint, filed on 03/16/2018, alleged that staff was drinking on the job and sold alcohol to a minor, an intoxicated person, and during prohibited hours.
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 04/18/2018.
The TABC received an anonymous complaint on 12/03/2019, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated person.
The TABC conducted an inquiry and found proof that the bar allowed a minor to purchase and possess alcohol, in addition to one count of misrepresentation of age by a minor. While the offenses included both criminal and administrative violations, for some reason the TABC decided against handing down any punishment, choosing instead to close the case on 02/04/2020.
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.