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FIGUEROA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/19/80)

decided: May 19, 1980.

FIGUEROA, INC., T/A SUGAR LOUNGE, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of In Re: Appeal of Figueroa, Inc. from Order of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board regarding Citation No. 206, 1978, No. 2284 May Term, 1978.

COUNSEL

Howard N. Snitow, for appellant.

J. Leonard Langan, Assistant Attorney General, with him Kenneth W. Makowski, Acting Chief Counsel and Edward Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish.

Author: Crumlish

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 423]

Figueroa, Inc., trading as Sugar Lounge, appeals an order of the Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court affirming a decision of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) suspending its restaurant liquor license for a thirty-day period. We affirm.

PLCB issued the citation to Figueroa, Inc., on the basis of the following finding of fact:

The licensee, by its servants, agents or employes, aided, abetted and/or engaged in the traffic in or sale of a controlled substance on the licensed premises. . . .

Figueroa, Inc., thereafter filed an appeal in the Court of Common Pleas where a de novo hearing was held on September 18, 1978.

Undercover police officers attached to the narcotics unit gave marked currency to an individual to buy heroin. While under police observation, the individual approached a man named Cooper seated in the premises and handed him the money. Cooper took the money, went behind the bar, and then delivered to the agent a package later identified as heroin which the agent testified was given to her by the man in the bar. Shortly thereafter, Cooper was placed under arrest.

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 424]

On appeal, Figueroa, Inc., contends that while Cooper was its porter, he was off duty and was merely a patron of the bar at the time of the drug trafficking incident, thus relieving it of vicarious liability for his criminal acts. Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether the court below abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board v. Herb Anthony Enterprise, Inc., 35 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 343, 386 A.2d 1043 (1978).

PLCB is empowered under Section 471 of the Liquor Code*fn1 to cite a licensee "[u]pon learning of any violation of this act . . . by any licensee within the scope of this article, his officers, servants, agents, ...


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