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Considering a Dram Shop Case Against The Rustic? Here's What You Need To Know

My firm has been suing bad bars for recklessly over-serving alcohol to their patrons for the last 30 years. I've handled hundreds of cases, and in the process, the extent of this irresponsible behavior has become extremely clear to me. While the public might hear about an accident from time to time, rarely do they see the history of complaints and violations that led up to it. With articles like this, I try to provide that missing background with data obtained by researching the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's complaint records. If you think you might have a dram shop (liquor liability) case, don't hesitate to contact me at (855) 326-0000.

Josh Sepkowitz and Kyle Noonan, owners of FreeRange Concepts, founded The Rustic in 2013. The goal was to create a venue for live music combined with a restaurant that serves homestyle meals made with fresh local ingredients. A highly successful business, in less than ten years, it has already grown to include two more locations in San Antonio and Houston. In spite of its success, The Rustic has also had its share of run-ins with TABC. Since 2015, there have been a total of four investigations between the Dallas and San Antonio locations.

In my experience, it's very rare for a bar to be involved in a dram shop case without already having a history of complaints with the TABC. That's why I pay close attention when I see an establishment attracting a lot of attention for liquor law violations. The more investigations a bar has had, the greater my concern is that it could one day cause an accident.

Note: Investigations are not evidence that a bar has broken the law. Investigators must have sufficient proof that there was a violation of TABC regulations in order to take legal action. Owing to the nature of this kind of violation, that proof can often be difficult for authorities to find. This article simply aims to relay publicly-available information about complaints made against The Rustic to TABC.

TABC Investigations of The Rustic Since 2015


San Antonio - 17619 La Cantera Parkway Building 2 Suite 204

Allegations:

On 12/12/2017, TABC received a citizen complaint alleging that staff sold alcohol to an intoxicated person. An investigation into the matter ensued.

Authorities could not produce any hard evidence of wrongdoing, which is understandable considering the nature of the charge. In order to prove that a violation took place, a TABC agent needs to have witnessed it occur or there needs to be video footage of the incident. Unable to take further action, authorities closed the case on 01/13/2018.

A concerned citizen filed a second complaint on 05/08/2019, charging that this location again sold alcohol to a patron who was over the limit. Authorities subsequently looked into the claim.

After nearly two months of investigation, TABC was unable to prove the allegation. As a result, it concluded its work on 07/06/2019.


Dallas - 3656 Howell Street

Allegations:

A citizen complaint on 09/08/2015 charged this location with selling alcohol to a minor.

In the investigation that followed, authorities found no solid proof of a criminal or administrative violation. Thus, they shut the case on 10/31/2015 without taking further action.

On 06/27/2016, a concerned citizen lodged a complaint with TABC, claiming that staff at this location sold alcohol to a drunk patron.

Authorities launched an investigation, but lacking video footage of the incident, they could not corroborate the claim. Given the circumstances, they decided to close the case on 08/17/2016.

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.