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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against Sundance Bar? Here's What You Need To Know

I have been holding bad bars accountable for over-serving alcohol for the last 30 years. With hundreds of cases under my belt, I have repeatedly seen just how rampant this practice really is. Even though the public might hear about drunk driving accidents from time to time, it doesn't hear much about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. With the goal of educating the public on this topic, I spend some of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and writing about my findings here on my website. If you believe you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim, don't hesitate to call my office at (855) 326-0000.

Sundance Bar is the hotel bar of the Best Western in Sulphur Springs, Texas. It is equipped with a small dance floor and jukebox, and caters primarily to locals and hotel guests. In spite of its small size, Sundance Bar has managed to attract a good deal of attention from the TABC due to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Over just a two-year period, authorities conducted no fewer than five investigations into the bar's alcohol service practices.

In my experience, it is uncommon for a bar that has no previous history of TABC investigations to end up involved in a dram shop case. Almost every bar I've sued was already on the authorities' radar. That's why I pay close attention to bars with multiple recent complaints on record. The more investigations a bar has had, the more concerned I become that it could one day play a part in a wrongful death or injury.

I want to emphasize that an investigation does not mean a bar did anything illegal. At the same time, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence of wrongdoing, that does not mean that a bar is necessarily innocent, either. Given the nature of liquor law violations, it can be difficult for authorities to uncover the evidence necessary for a conviction. What follows is simply a list of complaints against Sundance Bar obtained from TABC's database.

TABC Investigations of Sundance Bar Between 2017 and 2018


Sulphur Springs - 1521 Shannon Road

Allegations:

On 02/10/2017, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with TABC, alleging that the bar sold alcohol both to an intoxicated person and during prohibited hours.

Authorities subsequently investigated, but they did not turn up any hard evidence of wrongdoing. 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 any action. In this particular instance, it had neither. As a result, authorities closed this case on 04/06/2017.

An anonymous source contacted the TABC on 10/09/2017, charging that the bar permitted staff to sell drugs on the premises and sold alcohol both to a drunk person and during prohibited hours.

As mentioned in the previous investigation report summary, the TABC relies heavily on video evidence to corroborate most allegations. Once again, investigators had none and thus decided to close this case on 11/06/2017.

On 03/19/2018, an unnamed source reached out to the TABC and claimed the the bar committed four violations: selling alcohol to a minor, an intoxicated person, a non-member of the club, and selling alcohol during prohibited hours.

The ensuing investigation did not turn up any evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. Unable to take any further action, TABC agents ended their work on the case on 05/17/2018.

A member of the Sulphur Springs community lodged a complaint on 06/29/2018, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) occurred, and that the bar sold alcohol to a customer who was already over the limit.

After a nearly two-month-long investigation, authorities were unable to prove any wrongdoing had occurred. On 08/24/2018, the investigation came to an end, with the TABC taking no further action.

On 12/06/2018, a concerned citizen lodged a complaint that alleged a staff member was drinking on the job and served alcohol during prohibited hours.

Like all of the previous investigations, this one failed to find any proof of wrongdoing capable of standing up in court. With no other course of action available, investigators closed the case on 01/18/2019.

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.