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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. INNTERMISSION LOUNGE AND RESTAURANT (06/09/88)

decided: June 9, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, APPELLANT
v.
INNTERMISSION LOUNGE AND RESTAURANT, INC., APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of In Re: Inntermission Lounge and Restaurant, Inc., License No. R-33-12339, No. S.A. 1095 of 1986.

COUNSEL

Eileen S. Maunus, Assistant Counsel, with her, Ken Skelly, Chief Counsel, for appellant.

Edward A. McQuoid, King, Ruprecht & McQuoid, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 26]

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (Board) fined Inntermission Lounge and Restaurant, Inc. (Lounge) $350.00 for possessing or operating gambling

[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 27]

    devices or permitting gambling on licensed premises.*fn1 The Allegheny County Common Pleas Court vacated the penalty. The Board appeals; we reverse and remand.

A Pittsburgh City police officer played four video poker machines in the Lounge and was able to "knock down"*fn2 the credits accumulated on each machine (N.T. 2/10/87, p. 5). In a criminal proceeding pursuant to 18 Pa. C. S. ยง 5513 (gambling devices; gambling), the Lounge was found not guilty.

The common pleas court in this administrative proceeding concluded that the criminal decision acted as collateral estoppel against the Board. We disagree.

In V.J.R. Bar Corp. v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, 480 Pa. 322, 390 A.2d 163 (1978), our Supreme Court held that the Board may fine licensees for gambling on premises even though criminal charges based on the same conduct had been dismissed. This Court has consistently followed that precedent. Americus Hose Co., Inc. Liquor License Case, 71 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 218, 454 A.2d 1165 (1983); Mar-Kodis Diner v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, 110 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 507, 532 A.2d 940 (1987).

Thus, we hold that the common pleas court erred in vacating the suspension on the grounds of collateral estoppel. However, since the opinion of the common pleas court fails to contain findings of fact and conclusions of law on the evidence presented, further appellate review is precluded.

The order of the common pleas court is reversed, and this matter is remanded for a decision on the evidence ...


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