Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Sol Billares Y Deportes?
Over the last 30 years, I've worked to hold reckless bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. My experience handling hundreds of cases has opened my eyes to just how many bars consistently fail to follow alcohol service regulations. 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 irresponsible bars play in those accidents. Since most people don't do what I do for a living, I make an effort to share my insights in hopes of calling more attention to this issue. One way I do this is by periodically reviewing Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission 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.
Sol Billares y Deportes is a pool hall and dance club located in Houston, Texas. It is especially well-known by local fans of Cuban music, as the club often hosts popular artists on its stage. Though most of its visitors come looking to dance or shoot a round of pool, Sol Billares y Deportes has also received a number of visits from the TABC in recent years due to complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than five investigations into the bar'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 Sol Billares y Deportes for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Sol Billares y Deportes Between 2016 and 2019
Houston - 5920 Bellaire Boulevard Suite F
On 06/13/2016, a concerned citizen contacted the TABC and alleged that the bar sold and permitted the consumption of alcohol during prohibited hours.
When TABC agents investigated, they found corroborating evidence and issued four citations: two for criminal violations and two for administrative violations. No punishment for the criminal violations appears in the report, but authorities did hand down unspecified penalties for the administrative violations. On 07/10/2016, the investigation came to a close.
Less than two months later, the TABC returned after receiving a citizen complaint that claimed the bar again sold alcohol during prohibited hours.
This time, however, investigators were unable to uncover any evidence to back up the allegation. Having no other course of action available, they decided to close this case on 08/24/2016.
The very next month, on 09/12/2016, a member of the Houston community reached out to the TABC and alleged several violations. These included a breach of the peace, failure to report a breach of the peace, selling alcohol to an intoxicated patron, and selling during prohibited hours.
For most liquor law violations, the TABC needs either video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to take action. In this particular case, it had neither. As a result, investigators concluded their work on this case on 12/09/2016.
On 05/01/2018, law enforcement lodged a complaint, alleging that the bar permitted consumption during prohibited hours.
Investigators found adequate evidence to issue a citation for an administrative violation. After handing down an unspecified penalty, TABC agents shut the case on 05/06/2018.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC once again on 01/25/2019, alleging that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace and permitted patrons to consume alcohol during prohibited hours.
After over a month of investigation, authorities found evidence to back up the second allegation, handing out an unspecified penalty for an administrative violation on 03/02/2019. With that, the case came to a close.
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.