Miami, FL – June 30, 2020 – Another victory in Florida’s appellate courts by Greenspoon Marder’s Hospitality, Alcohol and Leisure Industry Group, the 3 rd victory in 4 months.
The issue arose when the Appellant, MB Doral, requested that its distributors deliver alcohol directly to a catered event and not to its licensed place of business. The distributor refused, arguing that they could only deliver to MB Doral’s licensed premises. In response, MB Doral filed a Petition for Declaratory Statement from the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (DABT) asking it to determine that distributor deliveries to events catered by Quota license holders are permitted under the Beverage Law. MB Doral is a holder of the Quota alcohol beverage license issued by the State of Florida. The license permits MB Doral to sell and serve alcoholic beverages away from its licensed place of business at catered events, such as the Ultra Music Festival, Chili Cook Off, Boat Show, and a host of others in the State of Florida.
Various associations intervened and DABT issued an order determining that licensed vendors like MB Doral could not receive deliveries of beverage alcohol at catered events where they could lawfully sell and serve alcohol. MB Doral appealed the order to the 1
st District Court of Appeal sitting in Tallahassee, FL.
DABT argued that nothing in the Beverage Law addresses when or where a licensed alcoholic beverage vendor may receive a delivery of alcoholic beverages purchased by a licensed distributor. DABT concluded that deliveries to catered event sites are nonetheless unlawful. The interveners also argued that DABT could not issue a declaratory statement approving catered event site deliveries and argued that the DABT declaratory statement should be accepted by the court. The 1
st DCA found no merit to either argument suggesting that there was no logical consistency to either and reversed the declaratory statement to the extent it concluded the Beverage Law precluded MB Doral from accepting deliveries at catered events.
The court concluded that specific authorization is not required in the Beverage Law. Therefore, in a very important development for the industry and what can only be construed as a disappointment by DABT, the instant decision stands for the proposition that if there is no clearly codified prohibition against a specific conduct, than that conduct is not prohibited or conversely is permissible.
“We are thrilled with this 3
rd consecutive win in 4 short months for Greenspoon Marder’s Hospitality, Alcohol and Leisure Industry Group in appeals against the Division of Alcoholic Beverages where the Firm represented the appellants, or the losing side below,” said Louis J. Terminello, the Group Chair. “That success record does not happen very often and in each case, the appellate court found that the State of Florida took positions that could not be supported by law.”
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