In the Minnesota Lawyer article “The Legal Team Behind Total Wine,” Debra Page details the extensive amount of work involved for the Lindquist team in securing a liquor license approval from the city of Bloomington, MN, on behalf of her client Total Wine & More.
In the summer of 2013, Page submitted a license application for the Bloomington store, with the goal of opening late November of 2013. The hearing date was set for early November. The Friday before that Monday’s council hearing on the application, an attorney for the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) delivered a “significant amount of documents” to the Bloomington City Attorney’s Office, Page said. The MLBA accused that Total Wine of not providing a complete application and omitting evidence of past complaints and violations from other states. The meeting was postponed until the next month.
“My client told me that they had heard they might get some opposition in Minnesota. I’ve done liquor licensing work for most of my 30-year practice and I told them ‘I’ve never heard of that kind of problem. We are here to help you get your license, and we will get it for you,’” Page said.
For roughly a year Total Wine responded to allegations from its competition and fought a well-organized opposition from the MLBA and liquor store owners. At the recommendation of city staff, and after numerous other delays, the public hearing was referred to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who heard Total Wine’s application in a full-day evidentiary hearing in September 2014 and later issued a report recommending approval of the application. The MLBA’s campaign continued in spite of the ALJ’s recommendation, and its representatives turned out again at the November 2014 hearing to repeat the same allegations that the ALJ had already concluded were unfounded. After a highly publicized and contentious three-hour hearing, the Bloomington council approved Total Wine’s license application with no restrictions, making Bloomington the fourth Total Wine store slated to open in Minnesota this year.
Page shared that working with the team of transaction and litigation lawyers was a rewarding and rare experience. In addition to Page, the Lindquist team included attorneys Mark Jacobson, Karla Vehrs, Lindsey Middlecamp, Sarah Zach, and Sarah Whiting. “This was not Deb Page’s work,” she said. “We were a team of six. We met every Tuesday morning to make sure we had all our bases covered because there was so much happening.”
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Read the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s coverage.