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Judges uphold IATC’s issuance of alcohol dealer permits

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that an association comprised of retail package liquor stores isn’t entitled to injunctive relief preventing the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Commission from issuing permits to stores in the same manner it has for the last 30 years.

In Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, Inc. v. Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, et al., No.49A02-1002-PL-125, the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers sued the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, seeking to stop what it described as the unlawful practice of issuing excessive permits to dealers in violation of the quota system established by Title 7.1. The IABR claimed the issuance of beer dealer’s permits to holders of liquor dealer’s permits without counting the beer dealer’s permits against the quota limits established in Indiana Code Section 7.1-3-22-4 for those categories of permits violates Indiana law.

The trial court denied IABR’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. It found there is no clear statutory guidance on the issue. The commission has followed its interpretation that the dealer statutes allow for permits to be issued which bundle together, in different formulations, the rights of different entities to sell different combinations of alcoholic beverages. The IATC has also counted those permits against different quotas in the same manner for many years. The court also found IABR won’t suffer irreparable harm and didn’t have a likelihood of success in a trial on the merits.

The Court of Appeals judges examined the various chapters and sections under Title 7.1 and found Article 3 to be ambiguous regarding the number of permits the commission may issue to dealers. They found reasonable the IATC’s interpretations of Article 3 allowing for three separate quotas to be applied to the various types of holders of dealer’s permits: a quota for those holding a package liquor store dealer’s permit, under which the holder may sell liquor and beer, which is counted only against the quota for package liquor store dealer’s permits; a quota for drug stores holding a liquor dealer’s permit, which is counted only against the quota for general liquor dealer’s permits under I. C. Section 7.1-3-22-4(b), even if they also hold a beer dealer’s permit issued pursuant to I. C. Section 7.1-3-10-6; and a quota for entities holding only a beer dealer’s permit issued pursuant to I. C. Section 7.1-3-22-4(a).  

IABR failed to show it had at least a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits at trial, wrote Judge Carr Darden. The IABR also failed to show that its members are likely to suffer irreparable harm if the injunction isn’t issued.

“Here, the IABR argues that without an injunction, its members’ ‘rights to fairly compete with other holders of lawfully obtained beer dealer’s permits will be harmed and diluted,’” he wrote. “We find no merit in this argument as we have found that the Commission’s interpretation of Section 4 to be reasonable, and therefore its issuance of permits, is lawful. Also, the IABR has presented no evidence that any of its members have been denied permits due to the Commission’s interpretation.”

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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