Houston-based Spec's is the state's largest liquor dealer. This summer it won a case against the state in which the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission had wanted Spec's to pay more than $700-million in fines. Now spec's is the one that's suing.
Houston attorney Al Van Huff represents Spec's.
"The question kind of boils down to whether or not the state agents were acting in a reasonable fashion and, as a matter of law, perpetrating a fraud, or seeking to, is not reasonable behavior."
Van Huff says the TABC misled its own witnesses and committed fraud in its attempted prosecution of Spec's. Spec's is suing for lost profits, legal fees, harm to its reputation, and punitive damages.
"The TABC presented false evidence in an effort to mislead its own witnesses and to mislead the judges as to the facts of the case; it was a panel of judges that heard the administrative case."
The TABC, which declined comment for this story, claims it should be immune from such lawsuits.