Judges uphold IATC’s issuance of alcohol dealer permits

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.”


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.