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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CIVIC ARENA CORPORATION (06/10/88)

decided: June 10, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, APPELLANT
v.
CIVIC ARENA CORPORATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Civic Arena Corporation v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, No. S.A. 390 of 1987.

COUNSEL

Felix Thau, Deputy Chief Counsel, with him, Kenneth B. Skelly, Chief Counsel, for appellant.

Steven A. Stepanian, II, for appellee.

Judges Doyle and Barry, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 75]

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (Board) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which reversed a Board order imposing a $750 fine upon Civic Arena Corporation (Civic) for selling beer to minors. We reverse and remand.

[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 76]

The Board issued its citation to Civic on May 28, 1986. A hearing on the alleged violation was held on September 22, 1986, some 117 days later. On January 30, 1987, the Board found Civic guilty and fined it $750.

Civic appealed to the court of common pleas which, after a de novo hearing, dismissed the citation because the Board had failed to schedule a hearing within sixty days of the issuance of the citation pursuant to Section 471 of the Liquor Code.*fn1 This appeal follows.*fn2

The starting point of our analysis is Section 471, which provides in relevant part:

[T]he board may, withing one year from the date of such violation or cause appearing, cite such licensee to appear before it or its examiner, not less that ten nor more than sixty days from the date of sending such licensee . . . a notice . . . to show cause why such license should not be suspended or revoked or a fine imposed.

47 P.S. ยง 4-471 (emphasis added). The Board contends that Section 471's requirement that a hearing be held within sixty days of the issuance of a citation is merely directory, while Civic argues, and the trial court agreed, that the emphasized language is mandatory.

The Superior Court considered this very same issue in Silva Liquor License Case, 219 Pa. Superior Ct. 31, 275 A.2d 871 (1971). In Silva the licensee was cited on June 5, 1968 and a hearing scheduled for July 10, ...


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