South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Parents Lack Standing to Sue Alcoholic Beverage Makers

Appeals court held that parents had no standing to sue the makers of alcoholic beverages for advertising their products and, thereby, encouraging children to buy such products. There was no showing of harm to their children and no possible remedy.

Topic Court Procedure
Key Words

Standing; Jurisdiction; Failure to State a Claim; Injury

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

In a federal court in Michigan and in Ohio, the parents of minor children sued various makers and importers of alcoholic beverages and the Beer Institute, claiming that their advertising is responsible for the illegal (underage) purchase of alcoholic beverages by children and that their children have been subjected to defendantís advertising campaigns. They seek to recover money spent on purchases of alcoholic beverages by children and seek an injunction against further advertising. The trial courts dismissed the suits; the plaintiffs appealed. The appeals were consolidated into one action for consideration.


The parents of the children have no viable remedy in their action against the makers of alcoholic beverages. Hence, the parents failed to establish standing. Illegal sales of alcoholic beverages to children may create a cause of action against the retailer, but not against the manufacturers or importers. The parents here suffered no economic injury, which also eliminates standing.


Alston v. Advanced Brands and Importing Co., 494 F.3d 562 (6th Cir., 2007)

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