After Dan Dumoulin, Sr. (Dan Sr.) and his wife, Joan, transferred ownership of their sports bar and its alcoholic beverage permit to their son, (Dan Jr.), Dan Jr. converted the business into an adult entertainment establishment. When he later applied to renew the permit, remonstrators sought to prevent the renewal. After a hearing, the local alcoholic beverage board recommended denying the petition to renew the permit, and the Indiana ATC agreed. Dan Jr., as the owner of the permit premises, appealed the denial to the Howard Superior Court. The trial court reversed, concluding that the ATC’s decision was arbitrary and capricious and unsupported by the evidence because it was based entirely upon the nature of entertainment provided by the business, which does not, by itself, preclude the business from having an alcoholic beverage permit. The ATC now appeals, arguing that it properly denied Dan Jr.’s renewal application.
Conclusion (slip op. at 16): The decision of the trial court is affirmed.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 15-16): Dan Jr.’s conversion of Ultimate Place from a family sports bar to an adult entertainment business is not a legitimate basis for denying the permit renewal. Alcoholic beverage permit holders are permitted by law to allow adult-oriented dancing on the licensed premises without obtaining prior authorization from the ATC, subject to floor plan approval. Thus, the ATC’s reliance upon this basis for its decision was arbitrary and capricious.