GA Law L 0509 cmyk 4/22/09 2:47 PM Page 1
By Steven Leibel, P.C.
LIQUOR AND PREMISES
LITIGATION Thoughts and commentary
from a legal perspective
New Ordinance may generate problems instead of profits
The City of Atlanta’s recent change in the law placing specialty food shops into a spe-
cial classification to allow the sale of beer, wine and malt beverages has the potential of
economic harm to those package stores, and others who followed the rules when they
applied for their licensing. This change of play may have dramatic effects on the prof-
itability of existing spirits merchants who relied upon existing rules including geo-
graphic restrictions when formulating their business plans, borrowed money and staffed
up their businesses.
Food stores which specialize in gourmet type foods, and which derive only 30% of
their sales from alcohol, are now the beneficiaries of the Atlanta City Council’s new
policy which places them in a special category easing geographic restrictions on beer,
Steven Leibel wine and malt beverage sales.
Steven Leibel was The new ordinance, which passed 11-2, on March 16, 2009 would open the door for
responsible for having the other businesses to move into this lucrative area of commerce. The rationale for many
City of Jasper’s liquor law of the specialty food stores is that hard times make for exceptions to the rule. Perhaps
ordinance struck down as
barber shops and tobacco stores could also try for beer and wine sales in the future.
being unconstitutional in
2005. He has represented
Now when this Ordinance goes before Mayor Shirley Franklin, will this truly be a
liquor license holders before
revenue generator or a business closer?
state and local
Steven Leibel received the
“2006 Super Lawyer” honor Liquor Liability as an inherently defective product
for outstanding achievement
for the third year in a row. In Canada a medical doctor is proposing that the beverage/alcohol industry be liable for
fetal alcohol syndrome. Once again, the issue of a products liability lawsuit is being
If you need help with liquor raised to protect individuals from their own acts of misconduct.
licensing or hearings, please This presents a question of whether spirits, beer or wine is an inherently dangerous
call Steven Leibel at product which should be the subject of a Tort Suit brought by a person who has injured
themselves. This is very different from a suit involving the use of alcohol which leads
706-867-7575 to them harming another. If alcohol itself is considered to be a defective product so
or email him at inherently dangerous leading to a finding of a product liability, then the ballgame for
the liquor industry is over, as is all of the jobs and tax revenue it generates.
Steven Leibel is a Georgia personal injury Superlawyer with offices in Dawson County and in Dahlonega.
He currently serves a member of the Georgia Bar Board of Governors for the Enotah Circuit. He is a
Steven Leibel, P.C. Commission member of the Georgia Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission. He is AV rated by
Trial Attorneys &
Martindale Hubbell for his legal ability and ethical conduct. He can be reached at 706-867-7575 or 404-
Counselors at Law
P.O. Box 1868 892-0700. Questions about his column can be sent to his email at email@example.com.
Dahlonega, GA 30533
Nothing in this column may be construed as the giving of legal advice. Legal advice can only be made through
an attorney client relationship. The statements made in this column are for general education purposes only.
4 BEVERAGE JOURNAL May 2009