Ocean 9 Liquor Lawsuit Dismissed

Ocean Drive

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Ocean 9 Liquor Lawsuit Dismissed:

Store remains "closed for inventory"

The U.S. District court has dismissed the lawsuit filed by the owner of Ocean 9 Liquor against the City of Miami Beach after it forced the store’s closing for an expired business license (BTR) last fall and restricted the hours of alcohol sales in the MXE District. Beach Blitz, owned by Doron Doar, still operates Ocean 11 Market. Ocean 9 Liquor at 865 Collins Avenue has been “closed for inventory” since October 6.
 
The court dismissed all counts against the individual members of the Commission as “local legislators are entitled to absolute immunity from civil liability for their legislative activities,” according to the ruling.
 
With regard to the claim that Beach Blitz was denied due process, the Court stated, “The second BTR Violation which resulted in Ocean 9’s closure ‘contained instructions on how to appeal the violation.’ … However, Plaintiff chose not to pursue such appellate remedy and instead closed its business and brought suit in federal court … Plaintiff cannot rely on its failure to avail itself of available state remedies to claim that the state deprived Plaintiff of procedural due process.”
 
Beach Blitz sought to overturn what it called "the City’s arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable ordinances designed to bankrupt the four package stores in the MXE district.”
 
The Court ruled “Plaintiff cannot demonstrate that the ordinances restricting package sales of alcohol in the MXE district lacks a rational basis. In fact, the Complaint specifically states that ‘the City determined that the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places disturbs the quiet enjoyment of the community, causes noise, and contributes to litter, noxious odors, and the general degradation of the City’ and, therefore, passed the ordinances ‘to serve the health, safety, and welfare of its residents and visitors’ as well as to prevent crime … Consequently, by Plaintiff’s own admission, the Ordinance is rationally based on the City’s desire to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the City’s residents and visitors.”
 
With regard to a claim that the business was closed in retaliation for a meeting in the City Attorney’s office the day before, the Court ruled there was no evidence of that claim.  
 
“Moreover, Plaintiff neglects to acknowledge that on October 6, 2017, Plaintiff was in fact operating Ocean 9 without a valid BTR – unlawful conduct that Plaintiff was cited for approximately three months earlier – well before the meeting even took place.”
 
The ruling left open the ability to file an amended complaint regarding the retaliation claim but noted “Plaintiff is cautioned that it must allege specific facts supporting its legal theory” by February 14. Absent a motion, the cased was dismissed last Friday.
 
A City spokeswoman said the City had no comment on the ruling.
 

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