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Kite's Bar & Grill, Inc. v. Kansas Dep't of Revenue

Court of Appeals of Kansas

June 27, 2014

KITE'S BAR & GRILL, INC., d/b/a KITE'S GRILLE & BAR, Appellant,
v.
KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL DIVISION, Appellee

Appeal from Riley District Court; JOHN F. BOSCH, judge.

SYLLABUS

1. In an appeal from an administrative agency's final order under the Kansas Judicial Review Act, an appellate court may grant relief from the agency action if the agency erroneously interpreted the law. In reviewing the interpretation of a law, the appellate court gives no deference to the agency's interpretation and review is de novo.

2. When statutory language is clear and unambiguous, an appellate court need not resort to the rules of statutory construction. It merely interprets the language as it appears and is not free to speculate or read into the statute language not readily found within it.

3. K.S.A. 41-106 is plain and unambiguous in requiring that a civil citation for a violation of the Kansas Liquor Control Act be delivered to the person committing the violation at the time of the violation and then a copy of the citation be mailed to the licensee within 30 days of the violation. If the citation and copy are not so delivered, the citation is void and unenforceable.

4. Under the plain language of the notice requirements set forth in K.S.A. 41-106, there is no substantial compliance with the terms of the statute to allow enforcement of a civil citation for violation of the Kansas Liquor Control Act when the citation is not delivered at the time of the violation but a copy of the citation is mailed within 30 days.

Jeremiah L. Platt, Clark & Platt, Chtd., of Manhattan, for appellant.

Sarah Byrne, assistant attorney general, for appellee.

Before BUSER, P.J., STEGALL, J., and BUKATY, S.J.

OPINION

Page 537

Bukaty, J.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division (ABC) of the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) suspended the liquor license of Kite's Bar and Grill (Kite's) for 4-weekend days due to a minor obtaining or possessing alcohol on Kite's premises. Kite's appealed through the administrative process and then to the district court, which upheld the suspension. Kite's appeals to this court arguing first that statutory law does not impose strict liability upon it in this civil action when a minor possesses alcohol while on its premises. Secondly, it argues the district court incorrectly found that substantial compliance by ABC was all that was necessary to give notice to Kite's of the administrative action.

We reverse, finding the applicable notice provisions of the Kansas Liquor Control Act (Act) specifically require ABC to deliver a citation to Kite's at the time of the violation and, because ABC did not do so here, the citation it later mailed to Kite's was unenforceable and void. That renders the first issue moot.

Neil Ramsey, an officer with the Riley County Police Department, performed a routine bar check at Kite's on the evening of December 18, 2010. Inside the bar, he saw a young woman quickly set down a can of beer and walk around to sit when she saw the officer. Ramsey approached, and the woman provided a driver's license that showed she was 19 years of age. Ramsey took the minor to a police station and issued her a citation for minor in possession. When he checked the beverage by pouring it out, the contents of the can were consistent with beer. Ramsey later returned to Kite's and told an employee ...


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