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PITTAULIS LIQUOR LICENSE CASE (10/12/71)

decided: October 12, 1971.

PITTAULIS LIQUOR LICENSE CASE


Appeal from orders of Superior Court, No. 943, Oct. T., 1970, affirming order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, April T., 1968, No. 1799, in re appeal of George Pittaulis.

COUNSEL

Samuel Rappaport, with him Joseph Rappaport, and Rappaport & Furman, for appellant.

Bruce W. Kauffman, with him David H. Pittinsky, H. Robert Fiebach, Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, Levy & Coleman, and Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, for appellee.

I. Harry Checchio, Special Assistant Attorney General, for Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Chief Justice Bell dissents.

Author: Roberts

[ 444 Pa. Page 245]

This appeal, taken by an unsuccessful applicant for a liquor license transfer, poses the question whether the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board can properly reject an otherwise qualified transfer application for the reason that parol evidence indicates that the applicant's lease does not permit the sale of alcoholic beverages on the demised premises. We hold that the Board exceeded its statutory authority in denying the requested license transfer on this ground.

The events leading up to the present appeal are as follows:

Appellee Food Distribution Center owns and leases a wholesale produce market to the Philadelphia Fresh Food Terminal Corporation. On February 20, 1967, appellant entered into a written sublease with Fresh Food for the rental of a portion of the market for a term of five years commencing April 1, 1967, for a total consideration of $22,800. The agreement between appellant and Fresh Food provided that the demised premises would only be used for the operation of a "restaurant" and further declared that the sublease was subject to the terms of the main lease between Fresh Food and the Food Distribution Center.

On October 16, 1967, appellant filed an application with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for transfer of a liquor license to his restaurant in the wholesale produce market. A hearing was conducted in due course, at which the Food Distribution Center appeared,

[ 444 Pa. Page 246]

    argued, and presented evidence. Although its hearing examiner recommended that the application be approved, on April 9, 1968, the Board refused the transfer, citing as its reasons that appellant did not have a "proper lease" and that such a transfer would adversely affect the health, morals and welfare of the inhabitants within a radius of five hundred feet.

Appellant thereafter appealed the Liquor Control Board's adverse decision to the Philadelphia Court of Quarter Sessions. At a hearing held pursuant to this appeal, the court refused to receive any testimony offered by the Food Distribution Center to attempt to prove by parol evidence that appellant's sublease did not include the right to serve alcoholic beverages. Following the hearing, the ...


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