dram shop defense

What is Dram Shop Liability?

A dram shop lawsuit seeks to hold a bar, restaurant or other establishment that serves alcohol responsible for providing alcohol to an individual who goes on to cause an alcohol-related injury. 

What are Texas dram shop laws? 

The Dram Shop act provides the exclusive remedy for liability resulting from injuries caused by an alcohol provider serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, when:

  1. It was apparent to the provider at the time the drink was served that the individual was obviously intoxicated and posed a clear danger to himself or others; and
  2. The individual’s intoxication was the cause of another person’s injuries, or even the Intoxicated individual’s injuries.

Texas Dram Shop Act, codified in Section 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, is intended to represent a balancing between protecting the public from the hazards of serving an already intoxicated person and the need to protect businesses in the alcohol industry from litigation.

What defenses or strategies can be used to successfully defend a dram shop lawsuit?

We thoroughly review the unique circumstances of each case to develop a tailored and robust defense strategy. 

Some common strategies are:

  • Proving that the alcohol provider did not serve alcohol to the patron when it was apparent they were obviously intoxicated;
  • Demonstrating that the patron’s alleged intoxication was not the proximate cause of the injuries suffered;
  • Correctly asserting the Safe Harbor Defense;
  • Showing that the plaintiff is comparatively negligent for their injuries;
  • Simultaneously defending the TABC’s source investigation into the incident;


Griffith and Hughes PLLC provides aggressive defense representation to Texas bar and restaurant owners facing dram shop claims. Our extensive experience handling TABC investigations and fighting TABC violations over the last several decades has enabled us to prepare Dram Shop cases efficiently and correctly. The attorneys at Griffith & Hughes PLLC have successfully defended many businesses facing liquor liability lawsuits.


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