In an article 78 case brought in Kings County New York Sherwyn Toppin Marketing Consultants Inc. sued the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) and requested the Supreme Court reverse the SLA's decision canceling their liquor license.
Agents from the State Liquor Authority had issued violations to the bar for permitting consumption of alcoholic beverages on its premises before and after hours and a continuing pattern of noise and misconduct requiring police attention. Additionally, New York City had commenced a new Nuisance Abatement action for various misconduct and other violations in the Supreme Court.
In the Nuisance Abatement action the Supreme Court had ruled that the city had not proven their case. In the SLA proceeding administrative law judge held a hearing and found that the SLA had sustained charges 5,6, 10, 12 ,13 and 14 with the submission of sufficient evidence. The SLA board adopted the Administrative LawJudge’s findings and canceled the petitioners liquor license
Tthereafter, petitioner commenced this article 78 proceeding to appeal the cancellation. The license holder/appellant brought up the claims that the ALJs findings were contrary to the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel because the Nuisance Abatement Law action had been dismissed. . The court found that neither doctrine applied in this case since in the nuisance action brought by the city the Supreme Court had placed a higher and different burden of proof upon the city than the substantial evidence standard used in the SLA proceeding. Finally the court found that the penalty imposed by the SLA was not so disproportionate to the offense is to be shocking to one’s sense of fairness. Therefore the SLA determination was confirmed and the CPLR Article 78 petition appealing it was dismissed.