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MATTER REVOCATION RESTAURANT LIQUOR LICENSE NO. R-15524 v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/02/78)

decided: June 2, 1978.

IN THE MATTER OF REVOCATION OF RESTAURANT LIQUOR LICENSE NO. R-15524, ISSUED TO V. J. R. BAR CORPORATION, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD



No. 395 January Term, 1976, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, No. 1483 C.D. 1974, Reversing the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Trial Division, Criminal Section, No. 2055 August Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Abraham J. Levinson, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Bd., Harry Bowytz, Chief Counsel, Asst. Atty. Gen., J. Leonard Langan, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Packel, JJ. Manderino, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Pomeroy, J., joined. Packel, J., did not participate in the decision of this case.

Author: Roberts

[ 480 Pa. Page 323]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, V.J.R. Bar Corporation, holds a liquor license issued by appellee, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. On March 22, 1973, the manager and two other employees of appellant were charged with participating in gambling on the licensed premises. The Municipal Court dismissed these charges. On November 27, 1973, the Board issued a citation against appellant and, after a hearing, imposed a fine of $350.00 because it found that appellant "by its servants, agents or employees permitted gambling on the licensed

[ 480 Pa. Page 324]

    premises, on March 22, 1973." The court of common pleas reversed the order of the Board but the Commonwealth Court reversed the order of the court of common pleas and reinstated the order of the Board. We granted appellant's petition for allowance of appeal to decide whether the Board may impose sanctions upon a liquor licensee when it finds that gambling occurred on the premises, even though criminal charges based on the same activity have been dismissed.*fn*

The Liquor Code, Act of April 12, 1951, P.L. 90, § 471, as amended, 47 P.S. § 4-471 (Supp.1977) authorizes disciplinary action by the Board for any violation of the laws of the Commonwealth relating to liquor or for "any other sufficient cause shown." In accordance with the clear language of the statute, it has been held that "sufficient cause" is not limited to violations of law. In re Quaker City Development Company, 27 Pa. Commw. 13, 365 A.2d 683 (1976); Petty Liquor License Case, 216 Pa. Super. 55, 258 A.2d 874 (1969).

"If the appellant had violated any liquor law, on or off the premises, no doubt would exist as to the board's right to revoke the license, but the act expressly states that that is not the only cause for which the board may take such action. It may do so 'upon any other sufficient cause shown.' Those words mean something. They cannot be ignored or deleted. Obviously they are placed in the statute for a definite purpose. They signify that the legislature intended to give to the board a certain supervisory power over the conduct of a licensee after a license has been granted."

[ 480 Pa. Page 325]

Commonwealth v. Lyons, 142 Pa. Super. 54, 57, 15 A.2d 851, 852 (1940). Any other conclusion would thwart the command of the Legislature that all the provisions of the Act "shall be liberally construed" for the "protection of the public welfare, health, peace and morals of the people of the Commonwealth," and to "prohibit forever the open saloon." 47 P.S. § 1-104(a); accord, Tahiti Bar, Inc. Liquor License Page 325} Case, 395 Pa. 355, 150 A.2d 112 ...


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