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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

WRF Secures Dismissal of Another Class Action Lawsuit against Coors and Other Major American Beer and Spirits Manufacturers

February 23, 2006

Washington, DC—A state court in Wisconsin 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 the matter as a matter of law, finding that the plaintiffs had no standing to pursue their complaint as they had failed to plead any injury to themselves and had not validly sued in the name of their minor children, if they had any.  Other grounds were not reached.

The third recent ruling in favor of Coors and most other major American manufacturers of alcoholic beverages, this decision was foreshadowed by the dismissal of virtually identical complaints in Ohio and 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.

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

View related news releases for Ohio and Colorado dismissals.