October 10, 2013

Authorizing alcohol sellers to sue underage buyers — and their parents — for $1,000 and legal fees.

It's the Brown Jug Bill, which passed yesterday in the Wisconsin state senate.

Oh! The discord that awaits, driving wedges into the traditional relationships of parent and child and liquor buyer and liquor seller.

21 comments:

Moose said...

Typically uncles if I recall correctly...

Sorun said...

Can you collect a judgement from someone on welfare?

tim maguire said...

What's the $1,000 for? Just free money?

Jane said...

Given that bar owners are at risk of losing their license when an undersge drinker shows an ID which the bar owner deems legit but actually isn't, I'd say it's entirely appropriate to sue for the harm this person causes the bar owner.

But their parents? For under-18s, sure, but this, again is one of the consequences of this nonsense of adults being deemed "minors" with respect to drinking (and ability to buy health insurance) but not in their general legal status. Or are parents only liable for the under-18s?

MadisonMan said...

What are the civil damages actually for? Tricking them into selling to someone they legally can't sell to?

So the underage buyer is prosecuted and fined by the DA for doing it, and then the bar/store gets to jump in on the fun? Am I reading this correctly?

I think the Legislature has far too much time on its hands. North Dakota does it right. Their legislature meets every other year.

Andy Freeman said...

> What's the $1,000 for? Just free money?

We let people sue for damages they've suffered because of other people's actions.

Underage buyers do damage sellers. For example, selling to an underage buyer puts the seller's liquor license at risk. WI may also have criminal penalties for folks who sell to underage buyers.

tmitsss said...

Think of it like a bad check fee

Richard Head said...

We let people sue for damages they've suffered because of other people's actions.

When will Bar Owners be held to account for the drunks they served that later got in a vehicle and injured and killed someone?

Or the drunk they served - that later went and committed domestic violence?

It's time to take a long hard look at the immunity that Bar Owners are given for the societal mayhem they help create.

Larry J said...

chard Head said...
We let people sue for damages they've suffered because of other people's actions.

When will Bar Owners be held to account for the drunks they served that later got in a vehicle and injured and killed someone?


In some states, they already are being sued if they sell to people who are knowingly drunk and they get involved in an accident. I don't know about Wisconsin or about your example of domestic abuse. How is the bartender supposed to know that someone is a mean drunk after they've left the bar? Is the bad behavior the fault of the bar that served someone alcohol or the individual who was abusive or driving under the influence?

MadisonMan said...

How is the bartender supposed to know that someone is a mean drunk after they've left the bar? Is the bad behavior the fault of the bar that served someone alcohol or the individual who was abusive or driving under the influence?

You do see that the very same argument can be used about a person buying while underage. Why do the bartenders get cover in one case, but not in the other?

There is risk in any vocation, including bartending. That risk takes many forms. Here the bartenders are trying to manage the risk of selling to the underage yet they consistently avoid the risk of selling to drunks who make bad choices.

Maybe you and I are arguing the same thing though.

Larry J said...

You do see that the very same argument can be used about a person buying while underage. Why do the bartenders get cover in one case, but not in the other?

It is illegal to sell to underage people. The penalties can be quite severe including not only fines but the loss of a liquor license, which is the death penalty for a bar. If a bar fails to detect that an ID is fake, there can be hell to pay. It's also illegal to buy alcohol when you're underaged. If you get caught, you might face a fine if the prosecutor decides to punish you. If you succeed, you could put someone out of business, costing people their jobs and their investments. The consequences for that should be pretty stiff.

MadisonMan said...

But the consequences -- death -- can be equally severe for a bar that serves someone who subsequently plows their car into a place it doesn't belong.

Is a bar indemnified from this? If they can sue a minor for tricking them, then the bar should be able to be sued for loading up a drunk.

PB Reader said...

What? Parents are to be responsible for their children? Shouldn't the lawsuit be directed at the paternalistic/maternalistic government?

Ann Althouse said...

"What's the $1,000 for? Just free money?"

I assume it's to reskew the self-interest of the retailer. Otherwise what it his motivation to call in the authorities over a fake ID?

Larry J said...

Is a bar indemnified from this? If they can sue a minor for tricking them, then the bar should be able to be sued for loading up a drunk.

In some states, bars can be sued under those circumstances. I don't whether that happens in Wisconsin.

Larry J said...

Here are some examples of stories about bars being sued over DUI/drunk driver incidents. The articles from the front page alone are from several states including Montana, Illinois, Texas and Florida, plus mention of New Jersey. That Google search I linked to returned 304,000 hits but of course many are likely redundant or irrelevant.

tim maguire said...

Ann Althouse said...
"What's the $1,000 for? Just free money?"

I assume it's to reskew the self-interest of the retailer.


So...free money. ("ppst!...hey, do this and I'll let you beat up that other guy for cash!")

There is some speculation by others here about the $1,000 being repayment for exposure to risk, but courts have never rewarded that before, instead they compensate for damages.

Inga said...

Just wait, it'll probably be the preachers kid and his parents, who gets sued first.

The Godfather said...

Did you notice, one of the organizations cited was "Health First Wisconsin (formerly Smoke Free Wisconsin)"? I assume Wisconsin is now smoke free, so the organization didn't disband, but moved on to other crusades.

Dopey said...

Sounds like a fast way for a bar to go out of business, particularly in a college town. Kid gets sued, word gets around, students stop coming.

Dopey said...

Sounds like a fast way for a bar to go out of business, particularly in a college town. Kid gets sued, word gets around, students stop coming.