Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The Coliseum? Here's What You Need To Know
Over the last 30 years, I've sued hundreds of bars for recklessly over-serving alcohol to their patrons. In the process, I've repeatedly seen just how widespread this practice is, as well as the tragic consequences that so often result. People might occasionally see or hear about an accident involving bars that over-serve, but what they don't usually hear about is the history of investigations related to this irresponsible behavior prior to an accident. In order to raise awareness of the extent of this problem, I periodically review the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records and post my findings here on my website. If you think you may have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim and are interested in learning about how to proceed, please call me at (855) 326-0000.
The Coliseum is a music and arts venue located in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2014, it is dedicated to providing a stage for primarily Tejano and Latin music performers. In addition to the wide range of artists and musicians it hosts, The Coliseum has also had a number of visits from TABC. In fact, since 2015, agents have investigated no less than ten times for alleged violations of alcohol regulations.
Almost all of the bars I have sued for their role in a wrongful death or injury have had a history of complaints claiming that they failed to follow the law. The more inquiries the TABC has made into a particular bar, the more concerned I become that it could one day play a part in a serious accident.
I want to make it clear that an investigation is not proof of wrongdoing. All an investigation means is that the authorities thought the charges deserved a closer look. Until a court decides otherwise, we must presume every business is innocent. However, if an investigation fails to turn up any evidence of wrongdoing, it does not necessarily mean that a violation didn't occur - just that it couldn't be proven. Below is the record of complaints against The Coliseum from TABC's database.
TABC Investigations of The Coliseum
Austin - 9111 Farm to Market Road 812
A concerned citizen filed the first of the complaints on this list back on 09/17/2015, alleging that a breach of the peace (most likely a fight) occurred. This triggered a TABC investigation into the matter.
Authorities spent nearly two months on the case, but they were not able to produce any conclusive evidence. On 11/13/2015, unable to take any further action, they closed the case.
On 12/03/2015, staff claimed that another breach of the peace occurred, in addition to the bar selling alcohol to an intoxicated patron. Though it might seem strange to report your own place of employment to the authorities, staff must legally report any TABC violations they see.
The ensuing investigation did not uncover any hard proof of wrongdoing. With no other course of action available, authorities ended their efforts on 02/05/2016.
The third complaint, dated 04/22/2016, came from a citizen who charged the bar with allowing a minor to possess or consume alcohol on the premises.
This kind of allegation is extremely difficult to prove in the absence of video evidence. In this case, it appears none was available, because authorities concluded the investigation on 06/16/2016 without issuing a citation.
An unnamed source contacted TABC on 05/18/2016, alleging yet another breach of the peace, as well as a failure to report the incident (itself a violation).
TABC investigated and turned up sufficient evidence to prove both claims, which it classified as administrative violations. On 10/28/2016, the investigation concluded.
A member of the Austin community reported on 10/07/2016 that the bar allegedly allowed an employee under the age of 18 to handle alcohol. The report also charged the bar with permitting a minor to possess or consume alcohol.
Once again, many of these charges are next to impossible to corroborate without video evidence or a TABC agent on hand to witness them occur. Authorities were unable to uncover enough proof to back up the claims, so on 12/03/2016, they ended their work on the case.
The only complaint of 2017 came from a concerned citizen on 01/10. The report claims that the bar permitted a minor to possess or consume alcohol, served alcohol to a minor, and served alcohol to a drunk patron. TABC responded to the charges with an inquiry.
Authorities investigated, but after over a month of work, they could not find sufficient proof of a criminal or administrative violation. On 02/14/2017, they concluded the inquiry.
The following complaint originated with a concerned citizen on 04/12/2018. The report lists the cause of the complaint as an aggravated breach of the peace. A breach of the peace is simply a public disturbance, and aggravated means the disturbance targeted an individual.
TABC's subsequent investigation could not corroborate the claim. Thus, authorities brought the case to a close on 05/25/2018.
On 09/05/2018, TABC received a complaint from staff alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already over the limit.
Being next to impossible to prove without video footage of the incident, it's no surprise that authorities came up empty handed. Unable to take further action, they closed the inquiry on 11/03/2018.
This next complaint originated with a concerned citizen on 04/23/2019. It alleged that a breach of the peace occurred, in addition to claiming that the bar sold alcohol to a minor as well as a patron who was already intoxicated.
Due to the lack of video footage of any of these incidents, authorities could not establish the veracity of the allegations. With no other course of action available, TABC shut the case on 05/28/2019.
Law enforcement filed the last complaint on this list on 07/29/2019, charging the bar with selling alcohol to a minor and to a drunk patron.
In spite of the source of the claims, TABC could not find enough evidence to prove any wrongdoing occurred. Thus, on 10/09/2019, the case closed and authorities took no further action.
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.