MA: Sports Bar Shut Down Over Lack of Work Comp Insurance

Liz Carey

Lunenburg, MA ( – A Massachusetts sports bar has been closed and its liquor license has been suspended for two weeks after it re-opens. The bar failed to provide city officials with proof of workers’ compensation insurance, and patrons were let into the bar after closing.

Officials said J & M Sports Bar had five violations of its liquor license in a year, with three in just the past month.

During the hearing last week before the Lunenburg Board of Selectmen, bar owner Melissa Thibodeau said she was working on fixing the issues.

Selectman Chair Jaime Toale said Thibodeau had failed to provide the city with proof of liquor liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance despite several attempts to contact the owner through registered mail and email. According to Toale, the two insurance policies in question expired on Feb. 14, and that the town has no proof that a new policy was written or extended.

“This is actually a surprise to me,” Thibodeau told the board, speaking to the insurance lapse.

In addition, selectmen said she had failed to retrieve the bar’s safety inspection certificate.

Previously, the bar was cited for allowing patrons in the bar after closing. Local ordinances prohibit anyone from being in the bar more than 60 minutes after closing. Previously, Lunenburg Police officers have cited the bar for having patrons in the bar after closing, including one incident where a bar patron was passed out in a car in the parking lot that did not belong to him. The officer measured the unconscious patron’s blood alcohol level at .0238.

“This is a very serious incident, to have someone in the parking lot with a .0238 (blood alcohol level) is absolutely unacceptable,” said selectman Paula Bertram. “We’re lucky he’s still alive.”

In March, the Lunenburg Board of Selectmen voted to suspend the bar’s license for one week after officers reported that there were patrons in the bar after closing.

The board voted to close the establishment immediately until after its insurance is renewed. Selectmen also opted to give the bar a 14-day suspension of its liquor license, on top of the 7-day liquor license suspension the bar was given in March.

“We want small business to succeed, we want you to succeed, but looking at the history, failure to communicate, failure to keep you license up to date, and this is persistent, it isn’t just a one-off,” Bertram said.

Selectman Toale said the persistent lack of effective management was troubling. “I’m not sure this person is entitled to a (liquor) license,” the selectman said. calls to J & M’s Sports Bar were not immediately returned, as were messages to Thibodeau by press time.