Suit over Alcohol Law in Utah Will Fizzle According to Legal Experts

Suit over Alcohol Law in Utah Will Fizzle According to Legal Experts

7/20/2011

 

After being frustrated at not being heard in the latest legislative debate over alcohol, the hospitality industry has filed a lawsuit to bring the legislative leaders and the governor to the table.

However, some legal analysts observed that the legal action that seeking to suspend SB314, a measure that outlaws discount drinks and limits the number of liquor licenses in bars and clubs has little chance of having successful outcome.

Just the same, bar and dining club interests, though aware that they may not prevail in court, still aim to capture the attention of the politicians and the public in an effort to gain relief from actions they regard as detrimental to their economic development and livelihood.

Kenneth Wynn, hospitality association board member and former director of Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said, “We believe we will prevail, but we also know this is a gamble.”

He also said, “We have not been able to get a hearing with the governor or the Legislature. We had no alternative other than to go to court to make our voices heard.”

Wynn pointed out that the best alternative would be for political leaders and businesses to talk and listen to what the other have to say. “but it takes two sides, and so far, we’re the only side out here,” said Wynn.

Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who were named as defendants in the case, refuse to comment on the lawsuit.

On the other hand, Brian Barnard, a civil rights attorney who has sued Utah on some other issues, said that the hospitality association will win their case. He said that the Prohibition’s repeal in 1933 have set the stage for state-sovereignty-over-alcohol argument.

 

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com