Alcohol Beverage Makers’ Duty to Warn Focus of Fowler and Johnson’s Expert Analysis for Law360

Shook, Hardy & Bacon Partner Greg Fowler and Associate Dale Johnson have co-authored an article appearing in the March 13, 2014, issue of Law360 as part of its “Expert Analysis” series. Titled “Beverage Makers Owe No Duty to Warn About Alcoholism,” the article discusses a recent federal court ruling dismissing “a products liability action filed by state department of corrections inmates seeking to hold alcohol beverage makers liable for failing to warn the plaintiffs that consuming alcohol can be habit forming or addictive.” The court based its decision on Idaho law, which follows the Restatement (Second) of Torts Section 402A, and the authors explain how other defenses, such as preemption, the primary jurisdiction doctrine and the Restatement (Third), Torts: Products Liability could be raised in similar suits against alcohol beverage makers.


Preemption...is a potentially potent tool for alcohol beverage producers in both the regulatory and litigation contexts. From a regulatory point of view, the TTB has emphasized that the law “preempts [s]tate governments from each requiring their own version of a health warning statement on alcohol beverage containers.”