Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Sean's Pub? 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.
Sean's Pub is located in Harker Heights, Texas. Offering a laid-back atmosphere, an outdoor beer garden, live music, and plenty of games, it has established itself as a top hang out for locals. However, over the years, it has also managed to attract a substantial amount of attention from the TABC due to several allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities conducted five investigations into alcohol service practices at Sean's Pub.
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 of a violation, 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 Sean's Pub for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Sean's Pub Between 2015 and 2019
Harker Heights - 1827 FM 2410 East
On 05/01/2015, a concerned citizen filed a complaint that alleged staff was drinking on the job and that the bar sold alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated person. The first of the allegations 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 itself is intoxicated, its ability to judge when to stop serving is impaired.
Authorities followed up with an investigation into the claims 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. In this particular instance, authorities had neither. As a result, the case came to a close on 06/25/2015.
The TABC received a complaint from a member of the Harker Heights community on 09/01/2015, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
After looking into the matter, investigators were able to prove the validity of the claim. Though authorities chose not to punish the bar, they did issue citations for both an administrative and criminal violation. On 11/03/2015, they wrapped up their work on the case.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 08/15/2017, charging the bar with failing to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight).
TABC agents conducted an inquiry and were able to confirm that the bar failed to report the breach. After handing down an unspecified penalty for an administrative violation, authorities closed this case on 10/10/2017.
On 10/31/2017, a citizen complaint brought the TABC back to investigate once again. This time, the allegation was that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already drunk.
After over two months of investigation, authorities were unable to find any hard proof of wrongdoing. As a result, they could not take any action and thus decided to close the case on 01/05/2018.
A further citizen complaint, filed on 01/02/2019, claimed that staff was drinking on the job.
As mentioned in a previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video evidence to confirm the veracity of most allegations. In this particular instance, it had none and could not take any action. As a result, investigators chose to shut this case on 02/16/2019.
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.