Updates on cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local governments

Subscribe by Email

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a Reader

Follow Municipal Minute on Twitter


Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Friday, April 12, 2024

Court Dismisses Due Process Claim Relating to Tobacco License Revocation

In AZ SPE, LLC v. City of Chicago, an Appellate Court dismissed a due process lawsuit brought by a company whose tobacco licenses had been revoked.

AZ SPE, LLC (AZ) leases property to gas station operators. Advanced Petroleum, one of AZ’s tenants, received notice from the City's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (Department) of a hearing to determine if its tobacco retail license should be revoked as a result of alleged sales of tobacco to minors. At the hearing, the City presented evidence of three violations and the hearing officer found Advanced Petroleum responsible and revoked its tobacco license.

Section 4-64-935(c) of the City's Code provides that when a tobacco license is revoked, no tobacco license can be granted to any entity for a year for the premises described in the revoked license. AZ was notified by the Department that the revocation of Advanced Petroleum’s license would apply to AZ’s property and that any new application for a tobacco license for that property would be denied during the one-year ban.

AZ sued, alleging that the City Code deprived it of its property interest because the ban lasts for one-year on the premises, making its property less attractive to prospective tenants. AZ also argued that it was entitled to notice of the revocation hearing and an opportunity to be heard at the hearing under the 14th Amendment as the owner of the property. Finally, AZ argued that punishing the property owner for the actions of its tenant violated its due process rights. 

The Appellate Court first held that the right to sell tobacco is not a protected property right under the constitution so AZ's due process claims were not viable. The Court also noted that the City Code provisions authorizing revocation for selling tobacco to minors were not arbitrary nor discriminatory and were rationally related to the City’s interest in protecting minors from the sale of tobacco products. As a result, the Appellate Court upheld the trial court's dismissal of AZ’s lawsuit against the City.

Post Authored by Alexis Carter & Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


Post a Comment