A few days after its beer permit was revoked late last month, Lincoln’s Sports Grille requested a hearing in Anderson County Chancery Court and asked that the revocation be put on hold while the legal case is pending.
Lincoln’s, which had its beer permit revoked by a city board on August 28, said it has been hit with a “more substantial penalty than similar establishments have faced with similar conduct.”
The beer permit of the popular restaurant and bar, which opened about 4.5 years ago, was revoked for one year after its fifth show cause hearing before the Oak Ridge Beer Permit Board, and the second called after Lincoln’s sold beer to a minor.
In a petition filed September 2, Lincoln’s asked the Anderson County Chancery Court for a hearing to determine whether the business “violated any rules of conduct pertaining to the sale of beer and the appropriate punishment.”
The litigation could be protracted, the petition said. Lincoln’s is represented by Oak Ridge attorney Kevin C. Angel.
“Failure of this court to issue a stay of the Beer Board’s decision will result in irreparable loss to the petitioner (Lincoln’s) because it severely impacts petitioner’s ability to do business while the matter is pending,” Lincoln’s said. “On the other hand, if this court grants a stay and ultimately upholds the decision of the Beer Board, the petitioner can still be suspended for a year after this court’s decision. Thus, a stay of the Beer Board’s decision is in the interest of justice.”
The legal request—officially known as a petition for writ of certiorari—could be discussed during a special meeting of the Beer Board on Tuesday evening. That meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom.
During that meeting, the board will also try to schedule show cause hearings for Outback Steakhouse, Riverside Grille, and New China Palace restaurant. They were among five Oak Ridge businesses that allegedly sold beer or alcohol to a minor during a compliance check by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission in June. The TABC checked about 30 establishments in that sting.
The board had show cause hearing for the other two businesses, Lincoln’s and Oak Ridge Moose Lodge #1316, during a special meeting last month. Lincoln’s beer permit was revoked, but the board did not take action against Moose Lodge. It was the second show cause hearing for Moose Lodge.
There is a second special meeting that starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, also in the Municipal Building Courtroom. During that meeting, the Beer Board will have show cause hearings for Ian’s Market on Arkansas Avenue, Aubrey’s Incorporated on South Illinois Avenue, and Back to Brewski’s on Randolph Road.
The Beer Board agenda said a manager at Ian’s sold beer to an intoxicated customer in July, according to police reports. It said two Aubrey’s employees were arrested for DUI and public intoxication soon after leaving the restaurant in March, and both admitted to drinking at Aubrey’s, according to Oak Ridge Police Department reports. And a patron of Back to Brewski’s was arrested for DUI after drinking at the business, the agenda said, citing police reports.
The agenda said selling beer to an intoxicated person, or serving it or allowing it to be consumed by someone who is intoxicated, is a violation of the city code and grounds for action to be taken against the beer permit and/or manager permit.
The Beer Board has the authority to revoke or suspend a beer permit, or impose a fine in lieu of a suspension. Aubrey’s and Back to Brewski’s have both previously had one show cause hearing, Aubrey’s for selling beer to a minor in March 2013 and Back to Brewski’s for a report of a public intoxication arrest outside the bar in April 2013 and a drugs/narcotics arrest inside the business.
The state imposes its own punishments for TABC violations. For example, Moose Lodge paid a $2,000 civil penalty for its June violation of selling alcohol to a minor and agreed to a 15-day suspension of a liquor-by-the-drink license. That suspension was in effect from July 13-27.
See the Tuesday evening agendas here.