Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The I Don't Know Bar? Here's What You Need To Know
Over the last 30 years, I've worked to hold reckless bars accountable for over-serving alcohol. My experience handling hundreds of cases has opened my eyes to just how many bars consistently fail to follow alcohol service regulations. While people might see or hear about a drunk driving accident from time to time, they don't tend to hear about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. Since most people don't do what I do for a living, I make an effort to share my insights in hopes of calling more attention to this issue. One way I do this is by periodically reviewing Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission complaint records 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 I Don't Know Bar is located in San Marcos, Texas. In recent years, it has received a significant amount of attention from the TABC due to a number of complaints alleging liquor law violations. Between 2016 and 2019, authorities conducted no fewer than six investigations into alcohol service practices at The I Don't Know Bar.
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 I Don't Know Bar for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of The I Don't Know Bar Between 2015 and 2019
San Marcos - 650 E Hopkins Street
On 01/30/2015, law enforcement placed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that a breach of the peace (typically a fight) took place and that the bar failed to report it (a violation in itself)
TABC agents looked into the matter and found evidence to support the claim that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace. After issuing a written warning, authorities closed the case on 03/10/2015.
A concerned citizen filed a complaint on 03/26/2015, charging that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
Authorities followed up soon after with an investigation. 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 particular instance, authorities had neither. As a result, the case came to a close on 05/09/2015.
The next complaint came from a member of the San Marcos community on 02/22/2018, and claimed that multiple violations occurred: a breach of the peace, permitting staff to sell drugs, selling alcohol to a drunk person, staff drinking on the job, and gambling on the premises.
The ensuing investigation failed to turn up any evidence to support the claims. Unable to take any further action, authorities closed the case on 04/24/2018.
On 03/07/2019, a citizen complaint brought the TABC back to investigate once more. This time, the allegation was that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
As mentioned previously, the TABC relies heavily on video evidence to determine the veracity of most allegations of wrongdoing. Having none, authorities could not take any action and thus decided to close the case on 04/27/2019.
Another citizen complaint, dated 08/13/2019, alleged a breach of the peace took place. Additionally, it claimed that the bar permitted the possession of drugs on the premises as well as sold alcohol to an intoxicated customer.
Due to a lack of video evidence, TABC agents could not determine the validity of any of the allegations. With no other course of action available, authorities wrapped up their work on the investigation.
A citizen complaint, filed on 12/16/2019, charged that the bar permitted staff to sell or possess drugs on the premises, in addition to committing other miscellaneous violations.
The TABC launched an inquiry into the matter, but failed to find any hard proof of a criminal or administrative violation. Consequently, authorities brought the investigation to a close on 01/17/2020.
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.