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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GTRT (05/09/88)

decided: May 9, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, APPELLANT
v.
GTRT, INC., APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in the case of In Re: GTRT, Inc., The Beer-Lottery Store, No. S.A. 196 of 1987.

COUNSEL

Faith S. Kiehl, Assistant Counsel, with her, Kenneth B. Skelly, Chief Counsel, for appellant.

Robert V. Campedel, Zemprelli, Clipper and Campedel, for appellee.

Judges MacPhail and Colins, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.

Author: Kalish

[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 62]

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (Board) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which modified a penalty imposed

[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 63]

    by the Board on GTRT, Inc. for selling alcoholic beverages to minors, which is prohibited by section 493(1) of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code (Code), Act of April 12, 1951, P.L. 90, as amended, 47 P.S. ยง 4-493(1). We reverse.

The Board found that GTRT had sold alcoholic beverages to minors on April 5, 1985, and on other occasions during 1985. The Board imposed a fifteen day suspension.

GTRT appealed to the trial court which conducted a hearing de novo. The trial court found GTRT guilty of the offense charged, but modified the fifteen day suspension to a $750.00 fine.

The basis for the court's modification was that the evidence at the trial de novo showed that the present director and sole shareholder was not involved with the business at the time of the cited offenses. Furthermore, since the time this new director/sole shareholder has assumed responsibility for the business, it has been operated in full compliance with the Code.

We have held that a trial court cannot modify a Board's order unless its findings are material and significantly different from those of the Board. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board v. Dobrinoff, 80 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 453, 471 A.2d 941 (1984).

The relationship between penalty and policy is particularly within the Board's special competence and should not easily be disturbed on appeal. Matter of ...


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