Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Stereo Live? Here's What You Need To Know
My firm has handled more liquor liability (dram shop) cases than anyone else in Texas. With over 30 years of practice behind me, I can attest to just how many bars regularly fail to adhere to alcohol service laws, particularly when it comes to their obligation to refuse service to patrons who are already drunk. While the public might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, it is much less common for it to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to increase people's awareness of this problem, I dedicate a portion of my time to researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database 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.
Stereo Live is a live music venue with locations in both Houston and Dallas. With a steady line-up of some of the biggest DJs currently working, it never fails to attract a crowd. However, in the recent past, Stereo Live has also managed to attract a good deal of attention from the TABC due to complaints alleging that it violated state liquor laws. Between 2015 and 2019, authorities conducted a combined total of nine investigations into alcohol service practices at the two venues.
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 Stereo Live for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of Stereo Live Between 2015 and 2019
Dallas - 2711 Storey Lane
On 12/29/2016, a concerned citizen filed a TABC complaint, alleging that this location sold alcohol to minor, permitted a minor to possess alcohol, and sold alcohol to a patron that was already over the limit.
Authorities conducted an investigation into the matter, but after well over two months of searching, they failed to turn up any hard evidence. 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 instance, it had neither, so on 03/08/2017, it decided to close the case.
Houston - 6400 Richmond Avenue
A member of the Houston community filed a report with the TABC on 01/12/2015 that alleged this location sold alcohol to a patron under the age of 21.
After over a month of investigation, TABC agents were unable to turn up any proof of wrongdoing. Unable to establish the veracity of the claim, authorities closed the case on 02/19/2019.
A citizen complaint, filed 01/14/2015, accused staff at the bar of drinking on the job, refilling, and possessing distilled spirits without an ID stamp. The first complaint is even more troubling than it might appear on the surface. Staff has a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of severe intoxication. However, if the staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to perform this essential function is compromised.
TABC agents looked into the allegations, but only found enough evidence to prove that the bar was refilling. After issuing a written warning, agents closed this case on 02/23/2015.
On 02/01/2016, a citizen reached out to the TABC, charging that this location served alcohol to a minor and during prohibited hours.
Authorities investigated, but due to a lack of video evidence, they were unable to take any action against the bar. On 02/21/2016, the case came to an end.
The next citizen complaints were placed on 09/28/2016, with both accusing the bar of selling alcohol during prohibited hours.
As in most of the other cases, due to a lack of video evidence, the authorities could not establish the veracity of the claim. Thus, the cases ended without further action on 10/11/2016 and 12/06/2016, respectively.
The first citizen complaint of 2017 came on 07/13. It alleged that the bar sold alcohol to a minor and to an intoxicated customer.
Without video evidence, the ensuing investigation was unable to prove any wrongdoing. As a result, the TABC closed this case on 11/05/2017.
On the same day as the previous complaint, another alleged that 'miscellaneous violations' occurred.
This time, the TABC was able to find evidence to back up the allegation. After issuing a written warning for allowing the removal of an alcoholic beverage from the premises, agents wrapped up work on the case on 08/23/2018.
The next complaint came on 01/04/2019, with a citizen alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a minor.
As is all too often the case, authorities had no video evidence to back up the claim. With no other course of action available, authorities closed this case after over three months of investigation on 04/26/2019.
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.