Class-Action Alcohol Advertising Suit Dismissed Upheld on Appeal

A Wisconsin state court of appeals unanimously upheld the earlier dismissal by Circuit Court Richard Niess of a suit against alcohol advertising brought by a Madison school nurse.

Jacqueline Tomberlin's class-action lawsuit was against over one hundred alcohol beverage producers. The court rejected the plaintiff's contention that she suffered economic damages because her child illegally purchased alcohol with money she gave to the child. The appeals court held that she failed to show how she suffered economic damage if her child spent money she provided on items such as candy, baseball cards, or video games. In addition, there's no law allowing a parent to recover damages from a company that produces a product on which a child illegally spends money, contrary to the wishes of the parent.

The appeals court agreed with the lower court in rejecting Tomlinson's claim that alcohol ads and marketing violate her right to protect her child from what she considers to be harmful influences. It held that alcohol advertising and marketing don't interfere with her parental rights because she can monitor what her child views, talk to her child to counter any alleged influence of the ads, and control and monitor her child's spending.

Similar lawsuits have been dismissed in a number of other states on similar grounds.


  • Jacquelyn L. Tomberlin v. Adolph Coors Company, et al. Wisconsin Court of Appeals on appeal from the Circuit Court of Milwaukee County. Case number 2006AP1302.
  • Murphy, Kevin. Anti-booze suit's dismissal upheld. The Capital Times, October 26, 2007.
  • Daykin, Tom. Suit over drinkers rebuffed. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 26, 2007.

Filed Under: Alcohol Advertising