Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Stellar? Here's What You Need To Know
My firm has sued more bars for liquor law violations than any other in Texas. In my over 30 years of experience, I have repeatedly seen just how serious the consequences can be when bars over-serve alcohol. While the public might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it's much less common to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. One of my goals is to raise awareness about the extent of this problem. To this end, I dedicate some of my time to investigating Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission complaint records and reporting what I find here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and would like to learn about how to proceed, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
Stellar is a cocktail bar located in Dallas, Texas. Founded in 2017, it immediately achieved a strong following thanks to its inventive drink menu and chic decor. However, while Stellar's recent success is beyond question, authorities have reason to believe its alcohol service practices might not be. Over just three years, TABC agents conducted no fewer than six investigations at the bar due to complaints alleging that it violated liquor laws.
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 Stellar for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Stellar Between 2017 and 2020
Dallas - 2810 N Henderson Avenue
On 09/21/2017, TABC received a complaint from a concerned citizen who alleged that the bar sold alcohol to a minor as well as to an intoxicated person. TABC followed up shortly thereafter with an investigation.
For most liquor law violations, TABC requires either video footage of the incident or eyewitness testimony from one of its agents in order to issue a citation. In this particular instance, it had neither. Unable to take any action, agents closed the case on 11/20/2017.
Less than a week later, on 09/26/2018, another citizen complaint led the TABC to investigate a second claim that the bar sold alcohol to an underage patron.
After over a month of inquiry, authorities failed to turn up any evidence of wrongdoing. With no other course of action available, TABC ended its work on the case on 11/06/2018.
A third citizen complaint, filed on 12/18/2018, once more charged the bar with serving alcohol to a minor.
The ensuing investigation did not manage to locate sufficient proof of a criminal or administrative violation for TABC agents to issue a citation. As a result, the case came to a close without further action on 02/07/2019.
Later that same month, on 02/28/2019, TABC received yet another complaint that claimed the bar dispensed alcohol to an customer under the age of 21.
As in all of the previous cases, authorities had no video evidence of the alleged incident and were thus unable to determine the veracity of the claim. On 04/16/2019, the investigation concluded.
On 07/31/2019, law enforcement contacted TABC and claimed that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
While the subsequent investigation failed to find evidence of the original allegation, it did manage to determine that other administrative violations occurred. From the report, it appears that authorities handed down no punishment. On 10/04/2019, TABC ended its work on the case.
A member of the Dallas community lodged a complaint with TABC on 12/12/2019, alleging that staff delivered alcohol to a minor.
This time, authorities were able to substantiate the claim. Not only did TABC determine that the bar sold alcohol to a minor, it was also able to prove that it sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron. Though authorities issued a total of four citations, it appears that no punishment was handed down. On 12/21/2019, the case came to an end.
On 01/06/2020, a citizen complaint alleging that the bar sold alcohol to an underage customer as well as to a drunk person brought TABC agents back to investigate once more.
The investigation was relatively short, lasting less than two weeks (the average length is a month or two). After failing to find any evidence of a violation, TABC agents closed the case on 01/18/2020.
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.