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Beer Garden v. State Liquor Authority

New York Court of Appeals
590 N.E.2d 1193 (1992)


Facts

Beer Garden, Inc. (plaintiff) had a license for the sale of alcoholic beverages issued by the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) (defendant). The SLA issued Beer Garden a notice initiating a proceeding to determine whether Beer Garden’s license should be revoked due to disturbances on its premises. The SLA issued a second notice to Beer Garden initiating proceedings to suspend Beer Garden’s license for selling alcoholic beverages to a minor. The SLA issued a third notice scheduling an interview in connection with the first notice. Sharon L. Tillman, counsel for SLA, issued all three notices. Pursuant to SLA regulations, an administrative law judge (ALJ) conducted hearings on the revocation and suspension proceedings and found evidence sustained the charges. The ALJ referred the case to the Commissioners of the SLA for final determination. Shortly thereafter, Tillman became an SLA Commissioner. The Commissioners, including Tillman, adopted the ALJ’s findings and voted to revoke Beer Garden’s license. Beer Garden petitioned for reconsideration and sought that Tillman recuse herself from participating in the decision based on her role as SLA counsel at the hearings. Tillman refused to recuse herself. The Commissioners sustained the determination. Beer Garden brought a proceeding challenging the revocation. The Appellate Division held Tillman’s refusal to recuse herself mandated Beer Garden’s petition to be granted. SLA appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kaye, J.)

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