Benjamin v. State Liquor Authority

Decision Date27 November 1963
Parties, 195 N.E.2d 889 In the Matter of Edward E. BENJAMIN, Doing Business as Cedar Restaurant, Respondent, v. STATE LIQUOR AUTHORITY of the State of New York, Appellant. In the Matter of Walter GRUNDMAN, Respondent, v. STATE LIQUOR AUTHORITY of the State of New York, Appellant.
CourtNew York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals

Bartholomew A. Moynahan, Hyman Amsel and Emanuel D. Black, New York City, for appellant.

Frederick P. Conte and Charles J. Bellew, Johnson City, for respondents.

FOSTER, Judge.

The question posed by these appeals is whether section 118 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, Consol. Laws, c. 3-B, constitutes a limitation on the jurisdiction of the Authority which cannot be waived by stipulation.

The facts involved are not disputed. Petitioners are operators of taverns in Maine and Johnson City, New York, respectively. Both had liquor licenses for the periods October 1, 1958 to September 30, 1959, and October 1, 1959 to September 30, 1960. When petitioners' licenses came up for possible renewal in 1960, the State Liquor Authority had some reasons to believe that petitioners had violated the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law during the Summer of 1959. The Authority contends that it did not become aware of these possible violations until the middle of August, 1960, and therefore, it proposed to renew petitioners' licenses for the 1960-61 license year upon stipulations that it could still institute revocation or suspension proceedings, and assess penalties for violations which occurred in the 1958-59 license year. Petitioners agreed to these stipulations.

Pursuant thereto, and at a hearing held in December, 1960, petitioners both admitted selling liquor to minors during the Summer of 1959, but claimed that section 118 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law precluded revocation or suspension of their licenses for violations occurring at that time. Section 118 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law provides in part as follows: 'Notwithstanding the issuance of a license or permit by way of renewal, the liquor authority make revoke, cancel or suspend such license or permit, as prescribed by this section and section one hundred nineteen of this chapter, for causes or violations occurring during the license period immediately preceding the issuance of such license or permit, and may recover, as provided in section one hundred twelve of this chapter, the penal sum of the bond on file during said period' (emphasis supplied). As a result of the hearing petitioners' licenses were suspended for a short period, and petitioners then brought the present proceedings to review these determinations.

Special Term pointed out that these cases presented two main issues: (1) should the stipulations, marked Exhibit 'G', be struck from the Authority's answers; and (2) were the orders of suspension as made by the Authority otherwise proper? The court then proceeded to hold that the stipulations were improperly pleaded in the answers of the Authority and directed that the same be stricken out in each case. However, the Special Term also held that section 118 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law prohibited the Authority from suspending licenses for acts occurring prior to the immediate preceding license period, and thereupon annulled the suspension orders of the Authority.

The Appellate Division, by a divided court affirmed the orders made at Special Term but held that the Special Term erred in finding that the renewal stipulations were not before the Authority at the time of the hearings. The Appellate Division reasoned that, while the stipulations were not formally received in evidence, it was not disputed that the licenses themselves were before the Authority and, since the renewal stipulations formed the basis upon which the licenses were issued and thus constituted an integral part thereof, they were before the Authority despite the fact that they were not formally introduced into evidence. It seems to us that this holding was eminently correct and we would add that, in proceedings before an administrative board, there is no requirement that the strict rules of common-law pleading or evidence be applied.

The essential issue, therefore, is the effect of the statute and whether the Authority's jurisdiction was expressly limited thereby. The division between the majority and minority in the Appellate Division was occasioned in part by the effect to be given to the decision in Matter of Colonial Liquor Distributors v. O'Connell, 295 N.Y. 129, 65 N.E.2d 745. In that case the court held generally that the Authority had the power to...

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9 cases
  • City of Bridgeport v. Debek
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • February 21, 1989
    ...Matter of Benjamin v. State Liquor Authority, 17 App.Div.2d 71, 73, 230 N.Y.S.2d 888, (1962) rev'd on other grounds, 13 N.Y.2d 227, 246 N.Y.S.2d 209, 195 N.E.2d 889 (1963). As a general matter, as the trial court held, we have defined a statute of limitations as a bar to the maintenance of ......
  • Diamond Nat. Corp. v. Dwelle
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • April 3, 1973
    ...added).' Matter of Benjamin v. State Liquor Authority, 17 A.D.2d 71, 73, 230 N.Y.S.2d 888, rev'd on other grounds, 13 N.Y.2d 227, 246 N.Y.S.2d 209, 195 N.E.2d 889; Karp v. Urban Redevelopment Commission, 162 Conn, 525, 529, 294 A.2d 633; Vegliante v. New Haven Clock Co., 143 Conn. 571, 580,......
  • Connecticut Steel Co., Inc. v. National Amusements, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 26, 1974
    ...added).' Matter of Benjamin v. State Liquor Authority, 17 A.D.2d 71, 73, 230 N.Y.S.2d 888, rev'd on other grounds, 13 N.Y.2d 227, 246 N.Y.S.2d 209, 195 N.E.2d 889; Karp v. Urban Redevelopment Commission, 162 Conn. 525, 529, 294 A.2d 633; Vegliante v. New Haven Clock Co., 143 Conn. 571, 580,......
  • Pepper & Salt Tavern, Inc., Matter of
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • February 27, 1984
    ...jurisdiction (Matter of Farina v. State Liq. Auth., 20 N.Y.2d 484, 285 N.Y.S.2d 44, 231 N.E.2d 748; Matter of Benjamin v. State Liq. Auth., 13 N.Y.2d 227, 246 N.Y.S.2d 209, 195 N.E.2d 889). ...
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