Considering A Dram Shop Case Against The Pearl? 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 Pearl is an Old West-themed bar located in Lockhart, Texas. While the bar has won many awards and is immensely popular with locals, it has also drawn the attention of the TABC in recent years due to a number of allegations of liquor law violations. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, authorities conducted three separate investigations into alcohol service practices at The Pearl.
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 Pearl for possible criminal or administrative violations.
TABC Investigations of The Pearl Between 2017 and 2018
Lockhart - 110 N Main Street
On 04/04/2017, a concerned citizen reached out to the TABC and alleged that the bar sold alcohol to an intoxicated person.
Authorities conducted an investigation, but they failed to find any hard proof of a violation. Unable to take any further action, TABC agents closed this case on 04/04/2017.
A member of the Lockhart community filed a complaint on 08/02/2018, alleging that the bar again sold alcohol to a drunk patron.
TABC agents 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. In this particular instance, authorities had neither. As a result, the case came to a close on 09/26/2018.
An unnamed source filed a complaint on 12/11/2018, claiming that staff was drinking on the job. This type of allegation is more serious than it might appear at first glance. Staff is legally obligated to stop serving alcohol to patrons who exhibit signs of being dangerously intoxicated. If staff itself is intoxicated, its ability to judge when to stop serving is impaired.
The ensuing investigation was unable to determine the validity of the claim. With no other course of action available, authorities ended their work on the case on 01/27/2019.
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.