Posts tagged "Beverages"

Sajjan Enterprises, LLC v. Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-012-18)

1 COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-02564 SAJJAN ENTERPRISES, LLC d/b/a COHASSET WINE AND SPIRITS vs. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES CONTROL COMMISSION MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS In this action, plaintiff Sajjan Enterprises, LLC (“Sajjan”) seeks judicial review under G.L. c. 30A, §14, of a decision of defendant Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (“ABCC”) dismissing as moot Sajjan’s appeal from the denial by the Town of Cohasset Board of Selectmen (“the Board”) of Sajjan’s application to transfer its liquor license from a location where Sajjan had previously operated to a new location. Before the Court are cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c), Mass. R. Civ. P. Sajjan seeks an order reversing the ABCC’s decision and remanding this matter to it for further consideration. The ABCC seeks affirmation of its determination. In consideration of the parties’ memoranda of law and oral arguments, and for the reasons that follow, Sajjan’s motion for judgment on the pleadings is ALLOWED, the ABCC’s cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings is DENIED, and the matter is REMANDED to the ABCC for further consideration in accordance with this decision. 2 FACTS Claims for judicial review of administrative agency proceedings are resolved through motions for judgment on the pleadings under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(c). See Massachusetts Superior Court Standing Order 1-96, §4. The Court’s “review shall be confined to the record.” Id. at §5. “Such record ‘shall consist of … the entire proceedings.’” Id. at §2, quoting G. L. c. 30A, §14. The record of the proceedings in this matter shows the following facts: Sajjan is a Massachusetts limited liability corporation that held an all-alcohol retail package store license, Alcoholic Beverage License Number 023800015 (the “License”), for the premises located at 27-29 South Main Street, Cohasset (the “Main Street Premises”), where Sajjan operated Cohasset Wine and Spirits. The License was first issued in September 2013 and was valid through December 2014. In October 2014, Sajjan’s lease for the Main Street Premises ended and was not renewed. On November 20, 2014, Sajjan signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement to purchase 807 Chief Justice Cushing Highway in Cohasset (the “Cushing Highway Premises”). Sajjan intended to operate Cohasset Wine and Spirits at this location, and the purchase and sale was contingent on Sajjan’s obtaining a transfer of the License from the Main Street Premises. On November 24, 2014, the Sajjan filed an application with the Board seeking renewal of the License for 2015. Even though Sajjan was not operating out of the Main Street Premises any longer, the Board approved the renewal. On that same day, Sajjan filed an application to the Board to change the location of […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 9, 2018 at 8:23 pm

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Craft Beer Build, LLC v. Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-022-17)

1 COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-809-D ________________________ CRAFT BEER GUILD, LLC d/b/a CRAFT BREWERS GUILD, Plaintiff, vs. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES CONTROL COMMISSION Defendant. ________________________ MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS The plaintiff Craft Beer Guild, LLC d/b/a/ Craft Brewers Guild (“Craft”) is appealing an adjudicatory decision, dated February 12, 2016 (“Decision”) of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (“ABCC” or “Commission”) under G. L. c. 30A, § 14. After the ABCC filed the Administrative Record (A.R.) and a Supplemental Administrative Record (S.A.R.) on September 22, 2016, Craft filed its “Plaintiff Craft Beer Guild, LLC d/b/a/ Craft Brewers Guild’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings” (“Motion”) on June 29, 2017, pursuant to Superior Court Standing Order 1-96 as amended.1 After a hearing on the Motion on September 12, 2017, at which the Court heard from both parties, the Court DENIES THE MOTION. 1 Craft has not helped its cause by filing a brief with what appears to be less than 12-point font, in violation of Superior Court Rule 9A(a)(5). As predicted in the Court’s endorsement of March 20, 2017, this added verbiage has only resulted in diverting focus and attention from Craft’s strongest arguments. 2 BACKGROUND Craft is a wholesaler of alcoholic beverages licensed under G.L. c. 138, § 18. It distributes about 200 craft beer brands to, among others, retailers such as restaurants and bars licensed under G.L. c. 138, § 12 for consumption of alcohol. In October 2014, one of the owners of a Crafts-distributed brand tweated allegations that its brand had been removed from the tap at Boston location because Massachusetts suppliers and wholesalers were making unlawful payments to retail licensees in exchange for those retailers carrying Craft brands. The Commission began an investigation, which lasted about seven months and resulted in a Violation Report. The Violation Report led to administrative charges against Craft for violation of the price discrimination law (G.L. c. 138, § 25A(a)) and of 204 Code Mass. Regs. § 2.04(1), quoted below. The ABCC had not previously brought such a proceeding against any licensee under § 2.08. During the proceedings, Craft stipulated to the facts in the Violation Report. After adjudicatory hearings, the ABCC found that Craft violated 204 CMR 2.08 and G.L. c. 138, § 25A. Based on the stipulated facts, the Commission found that in 2013 and 2014, Craft negotiated and implemented a series of schemes between itself, numerous retail licensees and certain third-party management companies that managed the retail licensees. Craft negotiated payment arrangements with the third-party management companies in exchange for tap lines committed to Craft brands at retail licensees that those companies managed. Generally, the payments were either […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 31, 2017 at 6:39 pm

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Massachusetts Fine Wines & Spirits, LLC v. Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-094-17)

                                      COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS   SUFFOLK, ss.                                                                            SUPERIOR COURT                       CIVIL ACTION 2017–003120-C   MASSACHUSETTS FINE WINES & SPIRITS, LLC[1]   vs.   ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES CONTROL COMMISSION   MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS   This is an action for judicial review, pursuant to G.L. c. 30A, § 14, of a decision of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (“ABCC” or the “Commission”) finding that the plaintiff, Massachusetts Fine Wines and Spirits, LLC d/b/a Total Wine & More (“Total Wine”), sold certain alcoholic beverage products at a retail price below their “invoiced cost” in violation of 204 Code Mass. Regs. § 2.04(1).  The matter is before the Court on the parties’ Cross-Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings.  For the reasons set forth below, the Commission’s motion is DENIED and Total Wine’s motion is ALLOWED. BACKGROUND   The material facts revealed in the administrative record are largely undisputed, and are as follows.    Total Wine is a national alcoholic beverage retailer, and the holder of a retail license for the sale of alcoholic beverages to be consumed off of the premises under G.L. c. 138, § 15.  This case concerns two of Total Wine’s Massachusetts stores, which are located in Natick and Everett.   Total Wine purchases alcoholic beverage products for its Natick and Everett stores from wholesalers Horizon Beverage Company (“Horizon”) and Martignetti Companies (“Martignetti”).  Horizon and Martignetti offer merchant customers like Total Wine a 1% discount for prompt payment (the “prompt payment discount”), and additional discounts based on the total quantity of a particular product purchased during a specified period of time (commonly referred to as the “promotional period”). The latter is known in industry parlance as a cumulative quantity discount (“CQD”), and the nature of this discount and its impact on downstream retail pricing lie at the heart of the present dispute. When wholesalers like Horizon and Martignetti deliver alcoholic beverage products to retailers, Commission regulations require them to “carry an invoice or sales slip, stating the names and addresses of the purchaser and seller, the date and the amount of the purchase, and also itemizing the number of the various kinds of containers and the kinds, quantities and brands of alcoholic beverages or alcohol.”  204 Code Mass. Regs. § 2.05(3).  Horizon’s and Martignetti’s delivery personnel typically present these invoices (hereinafter, the “original invoice”) to Total Wine at the time of product delivery.  The wholesalers’ original invoices state that a 1% prompt payment discount applies to the product order if the invoice is paid in full within 10 days.  These original invoices are silent, however, as to the CQD.   Total Wine’s policy is to pay the total cost stated on […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 31, 2017 at 7:10 pm

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