Benjamin J. Wish and Maria T. Davis persuaded a Massachusetts Superior Court judge to deny a request of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) to dismiss a challenge to a liquor license suspension as being moot because the plaintiff no longer operated the establishment in question.
The judge rejected the ABCC’s argument, determining that the license suspension is not moot because the suspension may adversely impact any application the plaintiff may file in the future for a new license.
Mr. Wish and Ms. Davis are cooperating counsel with the ACLU in representing the plaintiff.
In raising important First Amendment questions, the complaint challenges the ABCC’s decision to uphold a decision of the Cambridge Licensing Commission (CLC) to suspend the plaintiff’s liquor license based on the owners challenging and criticizing the actions of City of Cambridge officials in seeking to close the establishment because of burning tea light candles for ambience. The owners told the officials the attempted closure was based on a faulty interpretation of the law governing the use of tea light candles in a restaurant.
The CLC, upheld by the ABCC, characterized the owners’ challenges and criticisms as a hindrance to the investigation and as a threat of economic harm to the officials. The ABCC conceded that the CLC’s interpretation of the fire law was in error and overturned that part of the suspension.