Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The Lucky Horse Shoe Saloon? Here's What You Need To Know
I've sued more reckless bars for failing to adhere to liquor laws than anyone else in the state of Texas. With three decades of experience and hundreds of cases behind me, I have seen just how frequently bars put profit before safety and over-serve alcohol, in spite of their legal obligation to serve responsibly. While people might see or hear of drunk driving accidents from time to time, they don't tend to hear as much about the role that irresponsible bars play in those accidents. In order to raise more awareness of this topic, I spend a portion of my time researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint database and writing about my findings here on my website. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) claim, don't hesitate to call my office at (855) 326-0000.
The Lucky Horse Shoe Saloon is a chain of bars with locations in Skidmore and Lytle, Texas. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of the TABC due to several allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2015 and 2019 alone, authorities conducted nine separate investigations into the chain's alcohol service practices.
In my three decades of legal practice, rarely have I seen bar end up involved in a wrongful death or injury case that didn't have a history of complaints on file with TABC. Almost every bar I've ever sued was already on the authorities radar, so when I see a bar that has been investigated several times over a short period, it raises my concern that it could one day play a part in an accident.
Note: Investigations are not proof of wrongdoing. However, if authorities investigate and fail to find evidence, 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 Lucky Horse Shoe Saloon for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of The Lucky Horse Shoe Saloon Between 2015 and 2019
Skidmore - 222 S 8Th Street
On 05/06/2015, a concerned citizen filed a complaint with the TABC, alleging that the bar allowed a minor to both purchase and consume alcohol.
While investigators did not find any evidence to support the initial allegations, they did manage to find evidence that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace (typically a fight), which they classified as an administrative violation. After issuing the bar a written warning, authorities closed the case on 06/28/2015.
A law enforcement complaint, filed on 01/30/2016, alleged that staff was drinking on the job, sold alcohol to a drunk patron, and that a breach of the peace occurred, which went unreported (a separate violation in itself).
Upon investigation, authorities found evidence to support the claim that the bar failed to report a breach of the peace, along with other miscellaneous violations. After handing down an unspecified penalty and a written warning for the two administrative violations, authorities closed the case on 03/23/2016.
Law enforcement contacted the TABC again on 05/19/2016, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already intoxicated.
Authorities looked into the matter 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. Having neither in this investigation, authorities decided to close the case on 09/12/2016.
A citizen complaint, filed on 10/19/2016, alleged that the bar sold alcohol to an underage customer.
As mentioned in the previous investigation summary, the TABC relies heavily on video footage to back up most claims of wrongdoing. Since authorities had no such evidence in this investigation, they could not take any action, leading to their decision to close the case on 11/30/2016.
Yet another law enforcement complaint, dated 07/23/2019, claimed a breach of the peace occurred and that the bar failed to report it.
The investigation that followed found evidence to support the allegation that a breach of the peace occurred, which resulted in an unspecified penalty for the bar. On 09/18/2019, investigators brought the case to a close.
A member of the Skidmore community lodged a TABC complaint on 08/12/2019, alleging that staff was drinking on the job and that the bar permitted the possession of drugs on the premises. 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 is drinking, its ability to judge when to cut off service is impaired.
The TABC looked into the matter, but after nearly two months of work, agents had not found any evidence to back up the claims. With no other course of action available, they closed the case on 10/02/2019.
Law enforcement got in touch with the TABC on 10/16/2019, alleging that the bar sold alcohol to a patron who was already drunk.
An investigation followed, but failed to turn up any hard proof of a criminal or administrative violation. As a result, authorities ended their efforts on 11/25/2019.
Lytle - 17680 IH 35 South
A member of the Lytle community reached out to the TABC on 08/17/2016, alleging lewd acts, a failure to report a breach of the peace, and permitting patrons to consume alcohol during prohibited hours.
Due to a lack of video evidence, authorities could not determine the veracity of the claims. Unable to take any action, they had no choice but to close the case, which they did on 10/14/2016.
The second complaint against this location came on 01/31/2017, with a concerned citizen alleging that the bar permitted staff to sell drugs on the job and sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
As is so often the case, authorities had no evidence to corroborate the claims. With no other option available, they concluded their work on the case on 03/31/2017.
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.