The Iowa Court of Appeals has overturned a ruling against a West Des Moines bar for selling alcohol to an underage person. A server at the Rock Bottom Brewery served a beer to 19-year-old Audrey Pierce in March of 2007.
West Des Moines police making a check of the bar asked Pierce for an I.D., she said she did not have one, but admitted she was underage. Police charged her with possession of alcohol under the legal age and also charged the server with illegally serving Pierce. The server said Pierce’s I.D. had been checked by the person who took her order and she did not need to check it again. Officers had not checked to see if Pierce was carrying a fake I.D.
Rock Bottom was issued a $500 civil penalty and a 30-day liquor license suspension for the violation. Rock Bottom appealed saying employees had taken the proper steps to determine if Pierce was underage. The administrator of the Alcoholic Beverages Division ruled that both the person who took the drink order and the server are required to determine that a person is of legal age to drink.
The Appeals Court ruled that the administrator’s interpretation is “illogical,” as businesses are only required to use “reasonable care” to determine if someone is of legal age. The court overturned the administrator’s interpretation of the law and sent the case back to the administrator to determine if the initial check of Pierce’s I.D. was enough for Rock Bottom to avoid a violation.
See the entire ruling here: Rock Bottom ruling PDF