Judges Opinions Public Notices, — October 6, 2021 9:29 — 0 Comments

Public Notices, October 6, 2021

Volume 59, No. 10

 

PUBLIC NOTICES

DECEDENTS’ ESTATES

NOTICE TO DEFEND

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, v. Redner’s Markets, Inc.

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Letters Testamentary or of Administration have been granted in the following estates. All persons indebted to the said estate are required to make payment, and those having claims or demands to present the same without delay to the administrators or executors named.

 

FIRST PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF RUTH ANNA SEIBERT, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased February 27, 2021. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Jean D. Seibert, Executor

 

Jean D. Seibert, Esquire

Caldwell & Kearns, PC

3631 N. Front St.

Harrisburg, PA 17110

 

ESTATE OF JASON C. MORRIS, late of Myerstown Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Brijana N. Morris, Administratrix

 

Katherine L. McDonald, Esquire

Dethlefs-Pykosh Law Group, LLC

2132 Market Street

Camp Hill, PA 17011

(717) 975-9446

 

ESTATE OF MILDRED W. WEIDMAN, late of Myerstown Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Franklin L. Weidman, Executor

366 West Washington Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

36 West Main Avenue,

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

SECOND PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF NANCY B. LATSHAW, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Jay G. Saylor, Executor

275 West Strack Drive

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

36 West Main Avenue,

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF CRAIG L. LEISEY, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Ashley L. Santer, Administratrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF JAQUELINE M. OWENS, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Christopher G. Spicer, Executor

133 Delaware Road

Pa Furnace, PA 16865

 

Joseph M. Farrell, Esquire

201/203 South Railroad Street

P.O. Box 113

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

ESTATE OF GLORIA S. KETTERING, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

Thomas J. Kettering, Co-Executor

 

Cynthia A. Frantz, Co-Executor

 

Keith D. Wagner, Esquire

P.O. Box 323

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

ESTATE OF DAVID M. ROCK, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Tracey Yasi, Executor

 

Stacey W. Betts, Esquire

75 East Main Street

Mount Joy, PA 17552

 

ESTATE OF CHARLES H. LUCABAUGH, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Lisa M. Buckwalter, Administrator

354 Sunnyside Road

Newmanstown, PA 17073

 

John D. Enck, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

THIRD PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF FREDERICK M. STRUPP, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Frederick M. Strupp, II

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF LEE K. RHEN, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Roger L. Moody, Executor

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF NORMA D. KEYSER, late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Co-Administrators.

 

Debra A. Bowman, Administratrix

 

Eugene H. Cooper, Jr., Administrator

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF ARTHUR J. COBLE a/k/a ARTHUR JACOB COBLE, SR., late of Jackson Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Robert A. Coble, Executor

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF DARLENE F. ENGLE, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executors.

 

Gary L. Engle, Executor

1748 Miller Road

Hummelstown, PA 17036

 

Beverly J. Kauffman, Executrix

2816 Horseshoe Pike

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

Paul W. Kilgore, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

ESTATE OF LOIS J. BOMBERGER, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrices.

 

Linda S. Rau, Executrix

2 Lynch Drive

P.O. Box 149

Cornwall, PA 17016

 

Deborah A. Miller, Executrix

1146 Alpha Avenue

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Paul W. Kilgore, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

 

 

 

NOTICE TO DEFEND

 

IN THE

COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

CIVIL ACTION – FAMILY DIVISION

___________________________

 

DANIELLE A. ELDER and

DUSTIN L. ELDER,

Plaintiffs

 

vs.

 

JOSE E. LEON-TORRES,

Defendant

 

No. 2021-20495

 

 

NOTICE

 

If you wish to defend, you must enter a written appearance personally or by attorney and file your defenses or objections in writing with the court. You are warned that if you fail to do so the case may proceed without you and a judgment may be entered against you without further notice for the relief requested by the Plaintiff. You may lose money or property or other rights important to you.

 

YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS PAPER TO YOUR LAWYER AT ONCE. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LAYWER, GO TO OR TELEPHONE THE OFFICE SET FORTH BELOW. THIS OFFICE CAN PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION ABOUT HIRING A LAWYER.

 

IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO HIRE A LAWYER, THESE OFFICES MAY BE ABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION ABOUT AGENCIES THAT MAY OFFER LEGAL SERVICES TO ELIGIBLE PERSONS AT A REDUCED FEE OR NO FEE.

 

MidPenn Legal Services

513 Chestnut Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

(717) 274-2834

 

Reilly Wolfson

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

(717)273-2733

 

 

JUDGES OPINION

 

Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, v. Redner’s Markets, Inc.

 

Civil Action-Administrative Law-Pennsylvania Liquor Code-Appeal-Discretion of the Trial Court-Amicus Curiae Filings-Scope of Review-Waiver-Quasi Prosecutorial Manner

 

Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (“Petitioner”) has filed an appeal from a ruling by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (“PLCB”) that upheld the dismissal of a citation issued by an Administrative Law Judge against Redner’s Markets, Inc., (Redner’s”) for allegedly selling more than 192 fluid ounces of malt or brewed beverages in a single sale.  The Malt Brewer Distributor’s Association (“Association”) filed a Motion for Leave to file Amicus Brief, asserting that the holding of the PLCB impacts its members, as permitting grocery stores to sell malt and brewed beverages in unlimited quantities would infringe on the market niche occupied by its members.  Redner’s opposed the Motion on the basis that the proposed amicus brief presented arguments that already had been waived by Petitioner and consideration of an amicus brief would allow a private party to participate in a quasi-prosecutorial manner.

 

  1. The function of amicus curiae is to aid, assist and advise the court.

 

  1. The extent of amicus participation is a matter within the sound discretion of the trial court.

 

  1. Amicus curiae are not parties and have no standing to appeal a trial court’s final decree.

 

  1. The trial court has the discretion to accept amicus curiae filings if the court finds that the filings are not repetitive of the parties’ already well developed arguments and would assist the court in reaching its decision.

 

  1. Consideration of the Association’s brief may enhance the ability of the court to render its decision where the brief will provide additional assistance by developing the legislative intent behind relevant provisions of the Liquor Code with regard to the impact of liquor distribution between various types of licensees under the Liquor Code.

 

  1. The court of common pleas is to hear an appeal de novo on questions of fact, administrative discretion and other matters pertaining to liquor enforcement cases.

 

  1. The proposed amicus curiae brief containing arguments with regard to legislative intent does not result in litigation of issues that have been waived in light of the de novo posture of the case before the trial court and consideration of legislative intent is part of the court’s interpretation of the relevant statutory provisions.

 

  1. It is not the office of an amicus curiae to become a prosecutor.

 

  1. Since the Association’s Motion and proposed brief sufficiently have indicated that the Association is not seeking to act in a prosecutorial manner and have set forth its interest in the interpretation of the Liquor Code with respect to the economic interests of its members, the Association’s filing of an amicus curiae brief would not constitute impermissible participation in a quasi-prosecutorial manner.

 

L.C.C.C.P. No. 2020-00119, Opinion by John C. Tylwalk, President Judge, October 6, 2020.

 

 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

CIVIL DIVISION

 

PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE,                       :           NO. 2020-00119

BUREAU OF LIQUOR CONTROL             :

ENFORCEMENT,                                         :

Petitioner                     :

:

  1. :

:

REDNER’S MARKETS, INC.,                     :

Respondent                 :

 

ORDER OF COURT

 

AND NOW, this 3rd day of February, 2021, upon consideration of the Appeal of Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, to the December 18, 2019 Order and Opinion of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the response of Redner’s Markets, Inc., the Briefs submitted by the parties and the Amicus Curiae Brief submitted by Malt Beverage Distributors Association, it is hereby Ordered that said Order is AFFIRMED.

BY THE COURT:

 

                                                                        _____________________________, P.J.

                                                                        JOHN C. TYLWALK

 

JCT/jah

 

Cc:  Christopher Herrington, Esquire

        Jeffrey Elliott, Esquire

        Charles Caputo, Esquire

        Judith Huber, Esquire/Law Clerk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

CIVIL DIVISION

 

PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE,                       :           NO. 2020-00119

BUREAU OF LIQUOR CONTROL             :

ENFORCEMENT,                                         :

Petitioner                     :

:

  1. :

:

REDNER’S MARKETS, INC.,                     :

Respondent                 :

 

 

APPEARANCES:

 

CHRISTOPHER HERRINGTON, ESQUIRE     FOR PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE,

DEPUTY CHIEF COUNSEL                                               BUREAU OF LIQUOR CONTROL

                                                                                      ENFORCEMENT

 

JEFFREY R. ELLIOTT, ESQUIRE                                  FOR REDNER’S MARKETS, INC.

KOZLOFF STOUDT

 

CHARLES L. CAPUTO, ESQUIRE                      FOR AMICUS CURIAE MALT

CAPUTO LAW OFFICE                                            BEVERAGE DISTRIBUTORS

                                                                                  ASSOCIATION

 

OPINION, TYLWALK, P.J., FEBRUARY 3, 2021.

 

This matter involves an appeal by Petitioner Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (“BLCE”) from a ruling of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (“PLCB”) which upheld the dismissal of a Citation by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) issued against Respondent Redner’s Markets, Inc. (“Redner’s”).  We have received the certified record of this matter from the PLCB.  The parties have agreed to proceed by stipulated record and have submitted a Joint Stipulation of Undisputed Facts.  Both parties have filed Briefs and an Amicus Curiae Brief has been submitted by the Malt Beverage Distributors Association (“Distributors Association”).  The matter is now before us for disposition.

The Stipulated Facts and record indicate that Redner’s holds a restaurant liquor license for its store located at 110 Northside Commons in Palmyra.  The licensed area, known as the Café, is located inside the store.  The boundaries of the Café are designated by steel bollards between the licensed area where brewed and malt beverages are sold and the unlicensed grocery store area.

On February 20, 2018, BLCE opened an investigation regarding the Redner’s Palmyra location.  After an undercover visit on March 8, 2018 by two Liquor Code Enforcement Officers, BLCE issued a citation alleging that Redner’s had violated the Pennsylvania Liquor Code, 47 P.S. §§401(a) and 4-407(a), for selling in excess of 192 fluid ounces of malt or brewed beverages in a single sale to one person for consumption off-premises.  Redner’s denied the allegations and a hearing on the Citation was conducted before Administrative Law Judge Ember Jandebeur (“ALJ”) of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (“PLCB”) on June 4, 2019.

Our review of the Stipulated Facts and the Notes of Testimony and numerous exhibits adduced at  the June 4, 2019 hearing reveal that on March 8, 2018 at 1:55 p.m., BLCE Officers Noah Chapman and Kristyn Plowden made an undercover visit to Redner’s in order to see whether Redner’s would sell an amount of beer in excess of 192 fluid ounces in a single sale to one person in violation of the Liquor Code.  The Officers observed that the series of bollards designated the boundaries between the licensed premises and the unlicensed grocery store area.  The Officers entered the licensed premises separately and Officer Chapman selected two twelve-packs of Coors Light beer, which is a malt or brewed beverage.[1]  He took the two twelve packs to the counter to purchase as one sale.  Redner’s cashier, Kimberly Light, refused to make the sale in one purchase, explaining to Officer Chapman that it would have been in excess of the 192 fluid ounce limit.  Light informed Officer Chapman that he would have to make two separate purchases and that the first twelve-pack would have to be moved beyond the bollards outside of the licensed premises before he could purchase the second twelve pack. Officer Chapman informed Light that he had left his driver’s license in the car and Officer Chapman and Officer Plowden left the licensed premises separately without Officer Chapman making a purchase.  Light placed the two twelve packs on the floor near the counter.

After leaving the store, Officer Plowden made a call to the Officers’ supervisor, Sergeant Lynam.  After consulting with Sergeant Lynam, Officer Chapman returned to the Cafe and approached the cash register to purchase one twelve pack of beer.  Officer Chapman gave cash to Light for the twelve pack, received change, and Light taped the receipt on the twelve-pack.  The time on that receipt was 2:12 p.m.  Officer Chapman then placed the purchased twelve pack on the other side of the steel bollards on the floor in an aisle of the grocery section.  Light never advised Officer Chapman that he would have to leave the entire building with the purchased twelve pack of beer before re-entering to purchase additional beer.  Officer Chapman then purchased the second twelve pack of beer.  He paid for the second twelve pack with cash, obtained change from Light, and received a receipt which was taped onto the twelve pack.  The time on that receipt was 2:13 p.m.  Officer Chapman then exited the licensed bollarded area with the second twelve pack, retrieved the first twelve pack from the unlicensed grocery store area, and left the building with both twelve packs.

A Notice of Violation Letter was sent to Redner’s on April 30, 2018.  On May 10, 2018, the BLCE issued the Citation asserting that the Palmyra store had “sold malt or brewed beverages in excess of 192 fluid ounces in a single sale to one person for consumption off premises in violation of Sections 401(a) and 407(a) of the Liquor Code, 47 P.S. §§4-401(a) and 4-407(a).”

On July 22, 2019, ALJ Jandebeur issued an Adjudication and Order holding that Redner’s did not violate the Liquor Code and dismissed the Citation.  The BLCE filed an appeal of the Adjudication to the PLCB.  On December 18, 2019, the PLCB issued an Opinion affirming the ALJ’s Adjudication and dismissing the BLCE’s appeal.  The BLCE has filed the instant appeal to this Court.

This Court’s standard of review in appeals from decisions of the PLCB is de novo in nature and this Court, in the exercise of its statutory discretion, shall make its own findings of fact and conclusions of law.  Cantina Gloria’s Room, Inc. v. Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, 639 A.2d 14 (Pa. 1994).  The case need not be retried in its entirety; instead, the parties and the Court may rely upon the administrative record.  Kelly’s Bar, Inc. v. Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, 639 A.2d 440 (Pa. 1994).  This Court may sustain alter, change, modify or amend a penalty imposed by the PLCB, whether or not the Court makes findings which are materially different from those found by the PLCB or the ALJ.  Id.  The Bureau has the burden of proving by a fair preponderance of the evidence that the licensee has committed a violation of the Liquor Code.  Revocation of Restaurant Liquor License v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, 350 A.2d 426 (Pa. Commw. 1974).

Retailers with a restaurant license, such as Redner’s, are permitted to sell brewed and malt beverages for off-premises consumption but are statutorily restricted as to how much brewed or malt beverages may be sold to one person in a single transaction under Sections 401 and 407:

  • 4-401. Authority to issue liquor licenses to hotels, restaurants and clubs

 

(a) …  Such licensees, other than clubs, shall be permitted to sell malt or brewed beverages for consumption off the premises where sold in quantities of not more than one hundred ninety-two fluid ounces in a single sale to one person as provided for in section 407. …

 

47 P.S. § 4-401(a).

 

  • 4-407. Sale of malt or brewed beverages by liquor licensees

 

(a)(1) Every liquor license issued to a hotel, restaurant, club, or a railroad, pullman or steamship company under this subdivision (A) for the sale of liquor shall authorize the licensee to sell malt or brewed beverages at the same places but subject to the same restrictions and penalties as apply to sales of liquor, except that licensees other than clubs may sell malt or brewed beverages for consumption off the premises where sold in quantities of not more than one hundred ninety-two fluid ounces in a single sale to one person.

 

47 P.S. §4-407(a).  The Liquor Code defines a “sale” as “any transfer of liquor, alcohol or malt or brewed beverages for a consideration.” 47 P.S. §1-102.

In this matter, Redner’s holds a restaurant liquor license that has an approved interior connection with the unlicensed grocery store.  The two areas are separated from the licensed area by the steel bollards.  When the PLCB has approved an inside passage between the licensed premises and another part of a business, such as a grocery store, the storage and sales of malt and brewed beverages must be strictly confined to the premises covered by the license.  40 Pa.Code §3.53.  The extent of the licensed area must be clearly defined by a permanent partition of at least four feet in height.  40 Pa.Code §3.54.  Separate registers are required for the licensed and unlicensed premises when a licensee has Board approval to operate another business with an interior connection to the licensed premises.  40 Pa.Code §3.52.

The BLCE asserts that the PLCB’s interpretation of Sections 401 and 407 is unreasonable and renders the statutory provisions meaningless.  It further contends that Light and Officer Chapman had an “understanding” that Officer Chapman intended to purchase more than 192 ounces of beer and that the transaction from the first purchase cannot be considered complete when Officer Chapman merely placed the beer just over the boundary of the licensed premises into the aisle of the unlicensed grocery store area.

The ALJ determined that it was only necessary for the first purchase to be removed from the licensed premises which occurred when Officer Chapman placed the first twelve pack on the other side of the steel bollards before he returned to the cashier to purchase the second twelve pack.  The PLCB likewise rejected the BLCE’s argument that a buyer is required to actually leave the building where the licensed premises is located before making a subsequent purchase of beer for off-premises consumption, noting “that is not the Board’s long-standing position and it is not an interpretation the Board wishes to adopt at this time.”  (PLCB Opinion, p. 9) The PLCB reasoned that there is no provision of the Liquor Code requiring a patron to actually leave the entire building after making a first purchase before a subsequent purchase may be made and that to impose such a requirement would create conditions which do not exist in the Liquor Code.  (Id.)  Secondly, the PLCB noted that there is no provision in the Liquor Code that limits the number of times a patron may purchase malt or brewed beverages for off-premises consumption from a particular licensee.  (PLCB Opinion p. 10)  The PLCB also rejected the argument that it should re-evaluate what must occur between transactions in circumstances such as this, where a grocery store has a retail license with an interior connection to the unlicensed business. In upholding the ALJ’s decision, the PLCB suggested that if the legislative intent was to limit the amount of beer-to-go a retailer can sell to a particular patron, “then the legislature should have limited total sales to a patron, not the size of an individual sale.”  (Id.)

The BLCE argues that under the rules of interpretation set forth in the Statutory Construction Act, 1 Pa.C.S.A. $1501 et seq, the PLCB’s decision is erroneous in light of the legislative intent behind the various provisions of the Liquor Code and the liquor distribution scheme established therein.  Both the BLCE and the Distributor’s Association argue that the legislature has accorded only another class of licensee – the distributor licensee – the privilege of selling malt and brewed beverages in unlimited quantities for off-premises consumption under 47 P.S. §4-431.

Section 1921 of the Statutory Construction Act provides:

  • 1921. Legislative intent controls

(a) The object of all interpretation and construction of statutes is to ascertain and effectuate the intention of the General Assembly. Every statute shall be construed, if possible, to give effect to all its provisions.

 

(b) When the words of a statute are clear and free from all ambiguity, the letter of it is not to be disregarded under the pretext of pursuing its spirit.

 

(c) When the words of the statute are not explicit, the intention of the General Assembly may be ascertained by considering, among other matters:

 

(1) The occasion and necessity for the statute.

(2) The circumstances under which it was enacted.

(3) The mischief to be remedied.

(4) The object to be attained.

(5) The former law, if any, including other statutes upon the same or similar subjects.

(6) The consequences of a particular interpretation.

(7) The contemporaneous legislative history.

(8) Legislative and administrative interpretations of such statute.

 

1 Pa.C.S.A. §1921.  Courts may apply the rules of statutory construction only when the statutory language is not explicit or is ambiguous.  In re Trust Under Deed of Kulig, 175 A.3d 222, 229 (Pa. 2017).

In determining whether Redner’s made two separate sales of up to 192 ounces of beer to Officer Chapman or whether its conduct constituted the sale of more than 192 ounces of beer in a single transaction, we have examined the language of Section 401 and 407 of the Liquor Code and find the statutory language to be clear and free of ambiguity.   Like the ALJ and PLCB, we find nothing in the Liquor Code or regulations which would require a customer to remove purchased malt or brewed beverages from an entire establishment in order to make a second purchase under the circumstances present here.

The BLCE contends that a “sale” or “transfer” of the beer to Officer Chapman from the first transaction cannot reasonably be considered to have been completed when Officer Chapman merely placed the first twelve pack beyond the boundary set by the bollards and into the aisle of the grocery portion of the premises.  Both the BLCE and Redner’s point to the analysis of the Superior Court’s definition of “sale” under the Liquor Code In Re Hankin, 195 A.2d 164 (Pa. Super. 1963).  In that case, the hotel licensee argued that it could sell beer to a patron during its legal hours of operation and then permit the patron to retrieve and consume the beer on a Sunday when the hotel licensee was not legally permitted to operate.  The Superior Court opined that the word “transfer” as used in the Liquor Code’s definition of “sale” included the transfer of possession, as well as title, and that a transfer of possession is not complete unless and until the customer’s dominion over the alcoholic beverage is sufficiently unfettered to enable him to consume the beverage without the necessity of any further action on the part of the seller.  Id. at 67.  The BLCE also cites PSP, BLCE v. RJ Williams, Inc., ALJ Adjudication 99-2151, in which the ALJ concluded that a sale is complete when a licensee relinquishes control and dominion over malt or brewed beverages, but that a single transaction cannot be transformed into multiple transactions simply by a licensee ringing up two or more sales on its cash register.  PSP, BLCE v. RJ Williams, Inc., ALJ Adjudication 99-2151, p. 9.

We find that the sale here was complete once Officer Chapman gave the cash to the Light and he received his change and receipt from her.  At that point, Redner’s relinquished dominion and control over the twelve pack and the twelve pack had been “transferred” to Officer Chapman.  No further action on the part of Light or Redner’s was necessary.  Officer Chapman had assumed dominion and control over the beer and could do with it whatever he pleased.

We further agree with the PLCB’s observation that the Liquor Code is devoid of any language to suggest that Officer Chapman was required to leave the entire building before making his second purchase.  Under the regulations set forth at 40 Pa. Code §3.53 and §3.54, the “licensed premises” in a situation such as this, is only the portion of the building inside the boundaries designated by the partition, in this case, the steel bollards.   This is not a situation where the entire building is considered to be the licensed premises under the Liquor Code.

Once Officer Chapman placed the first twelve pack over the bollards and into the aisle of the unlicensed grocery portion of Redner’s, the first twelve pack was outside of the licensed premises.  This fact is supported by the BLCE’s own evidence.  In his testimony at the ALJ hearing, Officer Chapman acknowledged that the “licensed premises” was the Café inside the Redner’s store.  (N.T. at 28)  Officer Plowden also testified that the licensed premises was the bollarded area and that the first twelve pack had been removed from the licensed area before the second twelve pack was purchased.  (N.T. 76, 83, 104)

This is not a case where Officer Chapman brought the two twelve packs up the register and the cashier simply rang each twelve pack up separately on the cash register.  By the time the second twelve pack was purchased, Redner’s had relinquished control over the first twelve pack, Officer Chapman had assumed dominion and control over it, and it had been physically removed from the licensed premises.  The fact that Light may have been aware that Officer Chapman intended to purchase two twelve packs had no bearing on the legality of the sale.  It was simply not necessary under the statutory language for Officer Chapman to leave the entire store with the beer in order for it to have been “transferred.”

Because we find no ambiguity in the relevant statutory language, it is unnecessary for the Court to engage in an analysis of the legislative intent behind the liquor distribution scheme established by the Liquor Code.[2]  Thus, while we appreciate the thoroughness of the arguments presented on this issue by the BLCE and the Distributor’s Association, we find that these arguments are simply not relevant and cannot be considered in our disposition of this matter.   For these reasons, we will affirm the decision of the PLCB.

[1] The aggregate volume of the two twelve packs exceed 192 fluid ounces as each twelve pack contained twelve 12- ounce cans of beer for a total of 144 fluid ounces.

[2] We realize that at the time we granted the Distributors Associations’ Motion to file the Amicus Curiae Brief, we indicated that a review of the legislative intent behind the relevant provisions of the Liquor Code might be pertinent to the resolution of this matter.  See, Order and Opinion dated October 6, 2020.  However, at that point, we had not reviewed the merits of the parties’ arguments as Redner’s Brief was not filed until after we ruled on the Distributor Associations’ Motion.

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