Louisville / Jefferson County Metro Govt. v. TDC Group, LLC, d/b/a Molly Malone’s & Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
Opinion by Justice Noble; Justice Abramson not sitting.
Molly Malone’s (a restaurant in Louisville) sought to replace its restaurantdrink license with a retail liquor drink license. The AlcoholicBeverage Control (ABC) administrator denied the request after hedetermined Molly Malone’s was within 700 feet of otherestablishments having a retail liquor license, which is prohibited byKRS 241.075. Molly Malone’s appealed to the ABC Board, whoconcluded the statute’s requirement that the measurement be takenalong the “shortest route of ordinary pedestrian travel” meant aroute that is both safe and lawful. The Board determined that theroute measured by the administrator was incorrect and that theproper route—as advocated by Molly Malone’s– was greater than700 feet, and ordered the application granted. The Court ofAppeals affirmed on different grounds, ruling that theadministrator’s route was neither unsafe nor unlawful—but held thestatute unconstitutionally violated the prohibition on speciallegislation found in Sections 59 and 60 of the KentuckyConstitution.
The Supreme Court affirmed, but on different grounds than theCourt of Appeals– declining to address the issue of the statute’sconstitutionality, despite Molly Malone’s arguments that the Courtwas required to do so. The Court held that the Board was incorrectwhen it read KRS 189.570(6)(a) to prohibit crossing the streetwhere the administrator did when making his measurement.However, while the Court found the Board’s determination that theroute was unlawful was incorrect, it also found its determination thatthe route was unsafe was supported by substantial evidence.Accordingly, the Court held that the Board’s decision to adopt themeasurement proposed by Molly Malone’s was proper, as was itsdecision to grant the application.