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1616 Second Avenue v. State Liquor Authority

New York Court of Appeals
550 N.E.2d 910 (1990)


1616 Second Avenue (plaintiff) operated a restaurant called Dorrian’s Red Hand. Dorrian’s sold alcohol on its premises pursuant to a license issued by the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) (defendant). SLA charged Dorrian’s with selling or giving away alcohol to four underage patrons. After a hearing, an administrative law judge (ALJ) sustained two of the charges. Dorrian’s challenged the ALJ’s findings and the SLA scheduled the matter for review by a panel of five Commissioners. Prior to the hearing, SLA Chairman Thomas Duffy testified before the New York State Senate on the issue of underage drinking. After a senator specifically questioned Duffy about the Dorrian’s investigation, Duffy stated that the SLA was compiling a record to prove Dorrian’s had in fact sold alcohol to underage patrons. After Duffy’s testimony, Dorrian’s requested Duffy recuse himself from reviewing the charges because he had prejudged the matter. Duffy refused to recuse himself. The commissioners adopted the findings of the ALJ. Dorrian’s filed a proceeding to annul the SLA’s determination. The case was transferred to the Appellate Division, which affirmed the determination. Dorrian’s appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wachtler, J.)

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