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

February 3, 2006

Washington, DC—An Ohio district court has dismissed all claims against Wiley Rein & Fielding client Coors in a class action lawsuit alleging industry ads were to blame for underage drinking.  The court dismissed “with prejudice,” holding that the claims were so fundamentally flawed that any effort to amend the complaint would be “futile.”

In addition to holding that each claim was legally defective, the Ohio court said that the plaintiffs impermissibly were attempting to substitute litigation for the democratic process.

This decision in favor of Coors, and most other major American manufacturers of alcoholic beverages was foreshadowed by the dismissal of a virtually identical complaint on September 16, 2005 by the district court for Jefferson County, Colorado.

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.  Similar suits by the same group of plaintiffs’ lawyers are pending in state and federal courts across the country.

View related news release.

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