Dallas Dram Shop Act Personal Injury Lawyer
The Law Office of Doug Goyen represents people injured due to negligence. In Texas Dram Shop Act cases we represent people injured by intoxicated drivers who have been over-served by eating and drinking establishments.
Attorney Goyen is a personal injury lawyer licensed in Texas since 1997. We help our clients recover compensation for their injury cases. We have handled thousands of personal injury cases and recovered millions of dollars in settlement funds for our clients. Call us at (972) 599 4100 or contact us on our website contact form.
OUR LEGAL SERVICES
We handle personal injury cases including Dram Shop Act cases in Texas. When a bar or eating establishment over-serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer that conduct places all of us at risk of personal injury or wrongful death when their intoxicated customer leaves the establishment and causes an auto accident.
Texas has passed the Dram Shop Act to discourage bars and restaurants from serving intoxicated customers. The law holds those establishments responsible for the injury done by the intoxicated person when these establishments violate the Dram Shop Act. We pursue these cases and force the establishment to pay for their violation of the law, and pay for the injuries they have caused.
Most often in Dram Shop Act cases the intoxicated person has caused serious injury or death in an auto accident. Establishments that serve alcohol are responsible when they serve an obviously intoxicated person and that person then drives away from the establishment and causes a serious auto accident that results in injuries or death to others.
DRAM SHOP CASE LAW IN TEXAS
There are two types of claims under the Dram Shop Act:
1) Where a plaintiff is injured resulting from the provision of alcoholic beverages by a commercial provider to an obviously intoxicated adult; and
2) Where a plaintiff is injured resulting from the provision of alcoholic beverages by any adult not authorized by section 2.02(c)(1) to a minor under the age of 18. Tex. Alc. Bev Code section 2.02(b), (c).
The purpose of the Dram Shop Act is to discourage providers of alcoholic beverages from serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated people who may cause serious injury or death to others due to their intoxication.
PROVISION OF ALCOHOL TO AN OBVIOUSLY INTOXICATED ADULT
Elements that must be proven in a Dram Shop Act case involving serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated adult:
The defendant who has a TABC license (or does not have a TABC license, either way) sold or served alcohol to an adult when it was apparent to the defendant that the recipient was obviously intoxicated, and the intoxication proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury.
1) Provision of Alcohol
The defendant can be a licensed or unlicensed provider that serves the alcohol.
Licensed by the TABC: If the provider is licensed then it is a provider under the Dram Shop Act when it either sell or serves the alcoholic beverage. Borneman v. Steak & Ale, 22 S.W.3d 411, 412 (Tex. 2000).
Unlicensed by the TABC: If the provider is unlicensed by the TABC then it is a provider under the Dram Shop Act when it sells the alcoholic beverage. (Example: An employer that served alcohol at a party where there was no charge was not considered a provider covered by the Dram Shop Act, Whitney Crowne Corp. v. George Distribs., 950 S.W.2d 82, 91 (Tex.App.—Amarillo 1997, writ denied).
Others who have been held to not be providers covered by the Dram Shop Act include:
Social hosts: Where an adult served alcohol at a party without charge, they were not considered a provider. Smith v. Merritt, 940 S.W.2d 602, 605-607 (Tex. 1997).
Employers: An employer holding a party and serving alcohol without charging for it was not considered a provider. Whitney Crowne Corp., 950 S.W.2d at 91.
Wholesale distributers: A wholesale distributor is not a provider. They are prohibited by statute from selling or serving directly to consumers. Schmidt v. Centex Bev., Inc., 825 S.W.2d 791, 794 (Tex.App.—Austin 1992, no writ).
Event promoters: Radio station promoting an event at a bar encouraging drinking was not considered a provider. Triplex Comms. v. Riley, 900 S.W.2d 716, 719 (Tex. 1995).
2) Obviously Intoxicated
A plaintiff must prove that the person served alcohol was obviously intoxicated when they were served and were a clear danger to themselves or others. Tex. Alc. Bev. Code section 2.02(b)(1). The apparent conduct must be visible, evident, and easily observable. Bruce v. K.K.B., Inc., 52 S.W.3d 250, 256 (Tex.App.—Corpus Christi 2001 pet. denied). Determining if the provider should have observed the conduct is judged by what a reasonably prudent person would have observed. The Dram Shop Act does not require that the defendant actually witnessed the intoxicated behavior, only that the recipient was showing obvious signs of intoxication. Bruce, 52 S.W.3d at 256 (requiring the provider to actually witness the intoxicated behavior would encourage providers to turn a blind eye to intoxication).
Evidence to prove intoxication:
a. Amount of alcohol served.
b. Physical clues such as disorientation, balance, coordination, staggering, and slurred speech.
c. Changes in behavior or emotions.
d. Testimony from witnesses about their behavior.
e. Testimony of blood-alcohol content from officers or medical personnel.
f. Evidence that the provider regularly served intoxicated recipients (to prove habit or routine practice).
Causation: The plaintiff must prove the intoxication was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The injured party/plaintiff can be an innocent 3rd party or the intoxicated person. If it is the intoxicated person their recovery is limited based on their own percentage of responsibility.
PROVISION OF ALCOHOL TO A MINOR
The Texas Dram Shop Act holds any adult responsible for damages when they serve alcoholic beverages to a minor (under the age of 18), when as a result of intoxication they injure someone. TABC section 2.02(c).
Elements that must be proven in a Dram Shop Act case for provision of alcohol to a minor:
The defendant is an adult at least 21 years of age, and is not the minor’s parent, guardian, spouse or custodian. The defendant knowingly served or provided alcohol to the minor, or allowed alcohol to be served or provided to the minor on the defendant’s premises. The alcohol contributed to the minor’s intoxication, and the intoxication proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury. TABC section 2.02(c).
If an adult (21 or older) allows minors to have parties at their house and they provide alcohol to those minors this applies. If one of those minors provided alcohol drives away from the premises and injures or kills someone then the adult providing the alcohol will be held responsible for the injuries or death caused under the Texas Dram Shop Act.
FREE CASE REVIEWS
Call the Law Office of Doug Goyen at (972) 599 4100 or contact us on our website contact form for a free case review, consultation, and strategy session. We will summarize the case, identify the legal issues involved, and identify which legal issues will need most attention in the case to maximize recovery.
WHAT WE CHARGE
There is no fee unless you win. We charge a contingency fee on Dram Shop Act cases in Texas, and on all personal injury cases we handle. We are paid a percentage of what we recover for your case. This aligns our interests with your interests. The better we do for you the better we are paid in the case.