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21st Amendment chain blocked from federal cold-beer suit

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A magistrate judge has blocked a retail liquor store chain’s bid to join a federal lawsuit filed by convenience stores challenging an Indiana law that forbids them from selling cold beer.

Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch of the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana on Wednesday issued a 13-page order denying Indianapolis-based 21st Amendment Inc.’s motion to intervene. The suit claims Indiana’s prohibition on groceries and convenience stores selling cold beer violates the equal protection clause of the U.S Constitution and Article 1, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution.

The 21st Amendment chain of 19 stores sought to intervene on the basis that the statute permitting cold beer sales in package stores is a benefit given in exchange for the limits imposed on them. State laws forbid liquor stores from selling many grocery items or cold bottled water, for example.

Lynch ruled that 21st Amendment was not entitled to intervene in the case because it failed to satisfy the final element of a four-pronged test under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2): that no existing party represented 21st Amendment’s interest.

Lynch wrote that 21st Amendment “has no right to intervene because Indiana’s Attorney General is actively defending the constitutionality of the laws challenged by the plaintiffs.” Attorney General Greg Zoeller has said his office will defend the statutes and that any changes in the state’s liquor laws should be up to the Legislature.

Allowing 21st Amendment’s intervention in the case would unnecessarily complicate the litigation and delay its resolution, she wrote. She said 21st Amendment may later seek to file an amicus brief.

The case is Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, et al. v. Huskey, et al., 1:13-CV-0784.

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

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