PEABODY — The lawyer for Oliveira’s Steak House thought the 1979 case of Casa Loma Inc. vs. the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission sounded familiar.
And within minutes, Jack Keilty recalled just why. He had, in fact, cited that very case in his motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the rollback of his client’s liquor license to 10 p.m.
But he hadn’t cited the part of the case that held that the ABCC has jurisdiction in appeals of decisions by local boards to roll back a license holder’s hours to anytime before 11 p.m.
It was Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley who mentioned that aspect of the case — not because he’s an expert on liquor laws, but he’d just heard another case involving a liquor license two weeks ago, he said.
“Looks to me like they’ve got jurisdiction for that extra hour,” Feeley said.
The fact that he knew that was pure coincidence, said the judge. Even the city’s attorney, Adam Buckley, hadn’t heard of the ruling.
“My lucky day,” Keilty said.
Keilty ultimately decided to withdraw his request for an injunction yesterday, telling Feeley that he’ll go to the ABCC with an appeal of the Peabody Licensing Board’s decision.
That order, issued last week following a lengthy hearing, went into effect Monday.
“My client was hopeful I would come in here today and turn the tide,” Keilty told the judge.
Instead, the rollback will remain in effect while Keilty goes to the ABCC.
The Peabody Licensing Board first attempted to take disciplinary action against the restaurant in November, but another Superior Court judge granted an injunction barring the city from enforcing the rollback because the notice of the hearing did not specifically state that the restaurant was facing possible sanctions.
Last week, the board voted again to impose the rollback sanction, after a hearing where police, a representative of the St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church and some city council members testified about problems at the restaurant, including fights, littering and large, unruly crowds.
The appeal this week contends that since most of the incidents happened outside the establishment, and not on the property of Oliveira’s, the board had no right to consider the incidents.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.