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Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The Aztec Theater? 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.

The Aztec Theater is a performing arts venue located in San Antonio, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC on a number of occasions due to allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2019, authorities conducted three investigations into the theater'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 The Aztec Theater for possible criminal or administrative violations.

TABC Investigations of The Aztec Theater Between 2017 and 2019


San Antonio - 104 N Saint Mary's Street Suite 200

Allegations:

On 11/15/2017, the TABC received a complaint from a concerned citizen who alleged that staff was drinking on the job and sold alcohol to a minor. The first 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 itself is drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.

Authorities launched an inquiry 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. In this investigation, authorities had neither, resulting in their decision to close the case on 01/06/2018.

A citizen complaint, dated 03/13/2019, alleged that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.

TABC agents looked into the claim, but failed to turn up any hard evidence of a criminal or administrative violation. Unable to take any further action, they decided to conclude their efforts on 05/21/2019.

A member of the San Antonio community filed a complaint with the TABC on 08/14/2019, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to both a minor and an intoxicated person.

Due to a lack of video evidence, authorities could not determine the veracity of the claims. With no further course of action available, investigators closed the case on 10/19/2019.

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.