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9 N.J.A.R. 250

Royal Liquor Distributors and Importers and Dealers' Liquor Co., Joseph G. Smith & Sons, Inc., v. Brown-Forman Distillers Corp., et al
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Citation: 9 N.J.A.R. 250
Decision Date: 1982
Synopsis: Petitioner, licensed New Jersey wholesales, claimed that respon- dent's refusal to continue to permit their distribution of brand-name liquor in the State was discriminatory and thus illegal under N.J.S.A. 33:1-93.6 et seq. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that petitioners had for many years been the only licensed alcohol beverage wholesales who were authorized by Southern Comfort Corp. of Mis- souri to distribute Southern Comfort liquors in New Jersey. In 1979 respondent purchased Southern Comfort Corp. along with its tradesmarks, labels and assets; later that year, respondents notified petitioner that their distributorship was terminated. By virtue of a special ruling of the Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in which he concluded that N.J.S.A. 33:1-93.6 et seq. placed respondent in the same position for distribu- tion as its predecessor, the administrative law judge concluded that the only remaining issue to be determined was whether the statute as applied was unconstitutional. Initially, the judge noted that while facial constitutional attacks upon statutes were prohibited in administrative hearings, it would be appropriate to deal with the constitutional argument raised in this case, since a body of law had developed which requires exhaustion of administrative remedies when statutes are claimed unconstitutional as applied. State of New Jersey 251 The judge determined that the statute was neither unreasonable or arbitrary since it related reasonably to the State's legitimate interest in preventing wholesaler monoplies. Nor was the statute found viol- ative of the contract clause of the Constitution since whatever right respondent might have under that clause was outweighed by the legitimate legislative purpose of the statute. The judge also noted that State's recognized expansive power to regulate the alcohol beverage control business supported the constitutionality of the statute. Accordingly, the judge determined that N.J.S.A. 33:1-93.6 was constitutional. Upon review, the initial decision was adopted by the Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Edward G. D'Alessandro, Esq., for petitioners Royal Liquor and Im- porters and Dealers' Liquor Co. (D'Alessandro, Sussman, Jacovino & Dowd, attorneys) Joseph M. Jacobs, Esq., for petitioner Joseph G. Smith Alvin Weiss, Esq., for respondent (Riker, Danzig, Scherer & Hyland, attorneys)
Statute(s) Cited: 33:1-93.6 
Citation Tracker adopted-Div. of A.B.C.; affirmed -App. Div., A-4599-81, ?/28/84 (unreported); certification denied-97 N.J. 644 (1984) [Updated through 1991]