SOUTHLAND ENTERTAINMENT, INC. D/B/A BED NITECLUB & LOUNGE
LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, OFFICE OF ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO CONTROL
FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
LAFAYETTE, NO. C-2015-4942 HONORABLE KRISTIAN D. EARLES,
A. Allen, Sr. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Southland
Entertainment, Inc. d/b/a BED Niteclub & Lounge
A. Bonin, Lousiana Department of Revenue, Office of Alcohol
and Tobacco Control COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Louisiana
Department of Revenue, Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control
Jacqueline B. Wilson, Louisiana Department of Revenue, Office
of Alcohol and Tobacco Control COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Louisiana Department of Revenue, Office
of Alcohol and Tobacco Control
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Sylvia R.
Cooks, Elizabeth A. Pickett, Billy H. Ezell, and Van H.
ELIZABETH A. PICKETT JUDGE
Commissioner of the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control,
Louisiana Department of Revenue ("ATC") suspended
the alcohol permit of the plaintiff, Southland Entertainment,
Inc. d/b/a BED Niteclub & Lounge ("Southland
Entertainment"), after finding that the business was in
violation of La.R.S. 26:90(A)(11). Southland Entertainment
appealed the Commissioner's decision pursuant to La.R.S.
26:303(A). After considering the testimony and other
evidence presented by the parties, the district court upheld
the suspension of Southland Entertainment's liquor
license and the imposition of a monetary fine. On appeal,
Southland Entertainment contends that the ATC failed to
submit sufficient evidence to support the penalties imposed
upon it. For the following reasons, we find the district
court's findings are supported by the record and affirm
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Entertainment is a dance and nightclub located in downtown
Lafayette. On May 4, 2015, Agent Tyrone Banks of the ATC
received a telephone complaint, alleging that Southland
Entertainment may have violated La.R.S.
26:286(A)(11) by allowing controlled dangerous
substances ("CDS") on the business premises. Mr.
Reginald Mosley, the owner of Mosley Management, LLC,
reported the complaint. Pursuant to a Consent Agreement
entered into between ATC and Mr. Justin Lee, the owner of
Southland Entertainment, Mr. Mosley's company was the
exclusive security provider to Southland Entertainment. Mr.
Mosley met with Agent Banks and expressed his concern and
opinion that the ownership/management of Southland
Entertainment was not fully committed to preventing the
possible use of CDS, specifically marijuana, on the premises.
Mr. Mosley's verbal complaint, Agent Banks initiated an
undercover law enforcement investigation in order to find
activity to support Mr. Mosley's allegation of permitted
use of CDS on the premises by the ownership, management, or
employees of Southland Entertainment. As part of the
investigation efforts, Agent Banks enlisted various police
officers from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette Metro
Narcotics Task Force, as well as other agents with the ATC,
to conduct undercover surveillance at Southland Entertainment
during business hours on three nights in the summer of 2015.
The purpose of the surveillance was to look for any use of
CDS on the premises and to observe whether any of the
ownership, management, security, or employees saw and
permitted the use of said illegal drugs. After each
night's undercover surveillance, the officer and/or agent
submitted a written report of their findings.
conclusion of the surveillance and investigation period,
Agent Banks submitted all of the undercover investigative
reports to the ATC legal department for review, whereupon the
ATC issued an Administrative Citation to Southland
Entertainment for two counts of violating La.R.S.
26:90(A)(11). The case initially went before the Commissioner
of the ATC for an administrative hearing, after which the
Commissioner concluded that Southland Entertainment had
violated La.R.S. 26:90(A)(11). Southland Entertainment
appealed the decision to the district court as provided in
La.R.S. 26:303(A). At the conclusion of the trial, the
district court upheld the suspension of Southland
Entertainment's liquor license and monetary fine.
Southland Entertainment appealed.
Entertainment's assignments of error require this court
to determine whether the district court erred in upholding
the Commissioner's suspension of its liquor license based
on the evidence presented by the ATC.
reverse a district court's finding of fact, an appellate
court must find from the record that a reasonable factual
basis does not exist for the finding and that the finding is
clearly wrong or manifestly erroneous. Mart v. Hill,
505 So.2d 1120 (La.1987). Pursuant to this standard of
review, the appellate court does not determine whether the
district court was right or wrong, but whether its conclusion
was reasonable. Rosell ...