Attorney Fails to Secure Liquor License Renewal

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on September 22, 2017

Legal Malpractice Expert WitnessThis case is centered on an attorney representing a restaurant group which owned and managed an upscale bar in a premium downtown location in Illinois. Despite its success, the city revoked the establishment’s liquor license on the basis of several alleged violations -ranging from serving alcohol to minors to noise complaints. The restaurant group’s attorney, who was responsible for ensuring that the bar remained open legally, failed to file an appeal against the city’s decision in time to contest it. The restaurant group continued to pressure city government to reinstate their license, and retained several additional lawyers in their efforts to do so, however their initial failure to file an appeal eventually precluded their ability to obtain a liquor license. An expert in bar security was sought to opine on the case.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please explain your experience working on similar cases- involving municipal ordinance violations?
  • 2. What steps should be followed by an attorney in order to file an appeal?
  • 3. If a late appeal is filed - can an establishment permanently lose liquor license- other complications?

Expert Witness Response E-012990

I am extremely experienced with Alcohol Beverage Law and have practiced in a major city throughout my career, and I am published on the subject of beverage laws throughout the state in questions. Clearly, if the attorney had been diligent in his response to the suspension of the bar’s license he would have taken appropriate action much sooner. This seems to be a clear case of negligence by the attorney, who would be reasonably expected to be aware of the need to appeal the city’s decision within the predetermined time frame.

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