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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Side Pocket Billiards? Here's What You Need To Know

For three decades, I've been holding bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. In the hundreds of cases I've handled, I've seen just how widespread irresponsible alcohol service is, as well as the tragedies that often follow in its wake. While people might see or hear about drunk driving accidents from time to time, rarely do they hear about the role that reckless bars play in those accidents. In order to draw more attention to this issue, I dedicate a portion of my time to investigating the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records and reporting my findings here on my website. If you believe you may have a dram shop claim, please call my office at (855) 326-0000.

Side Pocket Billiards is a pool hall located in Waxahachie, 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 four separate investigations into the pool hall'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 contribute to 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 Side Pocket Billiards for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of Side Pocket Billiards Between 2017 and 2019


Waxahachie - 301 N Elm Street

Allegations:

On 02/07/2017, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that staff sold alcohol to a drunk customer.

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 04/05/2017.

A member of the Waxahachie community reached out to the TABC on 05/02/2017, claiming that staff was 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.

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 06/30/2017.

Law enforcement contacted the TABC on 01/30/2018, accusing staff of selling alcohol to an intoxicated customer.

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 07/03/2018.

A second law enforcement complaint reached the TABC on 09/10/2019, alleging that staff sold alcohol to a drunk patron and that a breach of the peace occurred, which the bar failed to report (a separate violation in itself).

The ensuing investigation found sufficient evidence to confirm that a breach of the peace occurred, which authorities classified as an administrative violation. After issuing a written warning, the TABC closed the case on 10/24/2019.

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.