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Point Proven, LLC v. City of Monroe

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 13, 2017

POINT PROVEN, LLC Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
CITY OF MONROE Defendant-Appellee POINT PROVEN, LLC Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
MONROE CITY COUNCIL (d/b/a CITY OF MONROE) Defendant-Appellee

         Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court Nos. 2014-0001; 2015-3928 Honorable Alvin R. Sharp, Judge

          NEAL LAW FIRM By: Mark J. Neal Counsel for Appellant.

          NANCI S. SUMMERSGILL Counsel for Appellee.

          Before BROWN, MOORE, and CARAWAY (ad hoc), JJ.

          MOORE, J, concurs in the result only, finding that the record as a whole provided evidence sufficient to support the City Council's action and the district court's judgment.

          BROWN, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Point Proven, LLC, appeals from the trial court's judgment that affirmed the City of Monroe's denial of plaintiff's renewal application for an alcohol permit. We affirm.

         Facts

         In 1944, a bar was established at 1026 N. Sixth Street in Monroe, Louisiana, called Duffy's Tavern. This is located in a residential/ commercial area. In the 1980's, the business began to operate as a night club. In 2013, the club, now called Sixth Street Saloon ("the Saloon"), was sold to Point Proven, LLC. On May 23, 2013, the Monroe City Council ("the City") held a meeting and one of the issues that they addressed was whether to grant Point Proven's request for an alcohol permit.[1] The City advised Point Proven that the previous owner had operated the club in a manner that upset local neighbors during the years of 2010 through 2012. The City admonished that Point Proven must take steps to clean up the club's practices, or they would not renew the alcohol permit during the council's next scheduled meeting in December 2013.

         On December 23, 2013, the City had its scheduled hearing and voted not to renew Point Proven's alcohol permit for 2014. At this hearing, the Monroe Chief of Police confirmed that a firearm had been discharged inside Sixth Street Saloon in July of 2013.[2] Moreover, the City also reviewed a police report showing that a Monroe officer responded to a noise complaint against the Saloon. Subsequently, Point Proven filed a petition for damages and an appeal to the District Court.

         Point Proven filed a motion for summary judgment. Point Proven argued that the City did not produce any evidence showing that Point Proven violated any of the provisions of the Louisiana Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. Therefore, Point Proven submitted that the City's denial of its alcohol permit was arbitrary, capricious, improper and unlawful. The City responded that a de novo trial was necessary to complete discovery and to examine witnesses, specifically the local neighbors of the Saloon.

         On June 12, 2014, Point Proven and the City reached an agreement. The City agreed to issue Point Proven an alcohol permit subject to the following terms:

For the next sixth months. In December, 2014 when liquor permits are again authorized, the City of Monroe will issue the same permit to Point Proven, LLC . . . For the year 2015, unless during the re-permitting process for 2015, it is found by the Monroe Police Department that the owner of the premises is not Otherwise Qualified as per applicable law. (Emphasis added).

         In exchange, Point Proven agreed to address the City's concerns. These steps included installing "double doors or other appropriate doors" to ensure its entrance was insulated, as was reasonably possible, to reduce any loud music. Additionally, Point Proven was required to employ no fewer than two private security guards to ensure against the possibility of drunk or disorderly patrons urinating in parking lots and residential neighboring yards and to ensure its patrons did not engage in acts of nudity or sexual activity inside the bar or its parking lot. The judgment further required Point Proven to ensure, through use of security guards, that there would be no unlawful parking ...


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