Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of In the Matter of Revocation of Restaurant Liquor License No. R-8030, issued to: Shander Lounge, Inc., 800-02 South 16th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Miscellaneous No. 7808-2301.
Gary A. Friedberg, Cohen, Pincus, Verlin, Hahn, Reich & Sherzer, for appellant.
J. Leonard Langan, Assistant Attorney General, with him Kenneth W. Makowski, Acting Chief Counsel, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Blatt and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 469]
This case arose when the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (Board) revoked the liquor license of the appellant, Shander Lounge, Inc. (Shander). Shander's threshold appeal from that action to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, was quashed as being untimely, on motion by the Board. The instant appeal followed from that order of the court below.
[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 470]
On January 14, 1978 a fire damaged Shander's licensed premises, resulting in its being closed. On January 27, 1978 Shander filed with the Board formal notice of a change of the officers, directors and stockholders of the corporation, naming a new person as the sole officer, director and stockholder. The notice of change indicated that the new owner had no offices or ownership in the corporation prior to January 1978, having purchased the stock and become the sole corporate officer in that month. The form submitted to the Board declared the licensed premises as the address of the corporation, though the home addresses of the new owner and the manager were also included on the notice. The corporate changes were approved by the Board on March 16, 1978.
However, almost three weeks after Shander notified the Board of the changes, and just two days before they were approved, the Board on March 14, 1978 cited Shander for a violation of the liquor laws. The citation notice was sent on that date by certified mail, and was addressed to the fire-damaged and closed licensed premises. That notice scheduled a hearing for May 4, 1978, on charges that Shander had issued a worthless check to a state store for the purchase of liquor. The infraction alleged preceded the change of officers and ownership.
The citation notice was returned to the Board by the postal authorities, marked "unclaimed." On April 26, 1978 the Board sent a second notice, by first class mail. That notice also was addressed to the licensed premises. On May 4, 1978 the Board proceeded ex parte with its scheduled violation hearing. On June 19, 1978 the Board revoked Shander's liquor license and sent notice of that decision to the licensed premises. The revocation was to take effect on July 13, 1978.
[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 471]
The licensee appealed the Board's revocation order to the court below on August 23, 1978. At a hearing pursuant to that appeal, Shander contended that no notice of the citation was ever received, and that it had no notice of the revocation until about ten days after expiration of the appeal period. On November 13, 1978 the lower court quashed Shander's appeal and reinstated the revocation. The lower court determined that the licensee had not appealed within the twenty-day period prescribed by Section 464 of the Liquor Code,*fn1 and had not shown the existence of extenuating circumstances to justify an extension of the appeal period.
Clearly, Shander appealed the revocation of its license far beyond the running of the twenty days prescribed by Section 464. The issue before us is whether there appear unique circumstances that ...