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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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