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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Wiley Rein & Fielding Secures Dismissal of Class Action Lawsuit against Major American Beer and Spirits Manufacturers

September 22, 2005

Washington, DC—Wiley Rein & Fielding has won dismissal of all claims against its client, Coors, in a class action lawsuit in the District Court for Jefferson County, Colorado. Similar suits by the same group of plaintiffs’ lawyers are pending in state and federal courts across the country. 

The September 16, 2005 Order dismissed the entire complaint and ordered plaintiffs to pay defendants' legal fees.

The complaint against Coors and most other major American manufacturers of alcoholic beverages alleged industry ads were to blame for underage drinking. Claiming to represent a large class of parents and guardians, plaintiffs sought  billions of dollars, which they alleged were defendants’ ill-gotten gains from underage drinking, and an injunction against the defendants' advertising. Plaintiffs accused defendants of false and misleading advertising, unfair trade practices in violation of consumer protection laws, unjust enrichment and negligence.

Granting a motion to dismiss, the court ruled that the named plaintiffs had failed to identify any actionable injury to themselves, much less to plead claims sufficiently "typical" of the proposed classes to permit class litigation. In addition to dismissing the claims against all defendants, the court applied a Colorado statute governing frivolous suits to require plaintiffs to pay defendants’ legal fees.

The Wiley Rein & Fielding team included partners Thomas W. Kirby, Helgi C. Walker and Brian Nuterangelo.