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Oral Argument Before Pa. Supreme Court

May 23, 2008


On Wednesday, May 14th, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral argument in the Sheetz litigation. The PLCB and Sheetz had appealed the Commonwealth Court order issued in February, 2007 which denied Sheetz the "E" retail dispenser license it wanted to sell beer at its Altoona location.

Commonwealth Court recognized that "...a potential consequence of the PLCB's interpretation [of the Liquor Code] is a significant transformation of the character of outlets for the sale of malt or brewed beverages, to include grocery stores, convenience stores and other commercial establishments with some small area for eating."

Some Supreme Court justices, via their questions at oral argument, suggested that they too may view the issue of convenience stores, gas stations, and grocery stores selling beer as one which should be addressed by the legislature, not by an administrative agency such as the PLCB.

MBDA has consistently taken the position that the legislature never intended to allow these outlets to sell beer, in bulk, for take-out, using "E" and "R" licenses and for the PLCB to allow them to do so is a misinterpretation of the Liquor Code. The Supreme Court has no specific time in which it must render an opinion but we remain cautiously optimistic that one will be issued before the end of the year.

 
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