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News - 2020

July. 2020

Maria Davis quoted in news article on court ruling allowing challenge to liquor license suspension to proceed

Maria Davis was quoted in Cambridge Day on a Massachusetts Superior Court decision allowing a challenge to a liquor license suspension to proceed.

The ruling denied a request of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) to dismiss the challenge as being moot because the plaintiff no longer operated the establishment in question.

The judge determined 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.

“This decision recognizes that people harmed by decisions of the ABCC or other government agencies have a right to challenge those decisions so long as they continue to have an adverse effect on future business prospects or reputations,” Ms. Davis told the publication.

Benjamin J. Wish and Ms. Davis are cooperating counsel with the ACLU in representing the plaintiff in the Superior Court case. 

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. 

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