Calif. bar owners sue underage drinkers

May 10, 2004 at 4:23 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, May 10 (UPI) -- Several bar owners in San Francisco have successfully sued underage drinkers to cover the cost of fines and deter illegal behavior.

After receiving a $3,000 fine for serving alcohol to an underage woman who used someone else's ID to gain admittance, Michael DiBenedetti, Wizz Wentworth and Erik Boardman, owners of Amante bar in North Beach, sued her in small claims court in April, They were awarded $5,000, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The bar owners are joining other proprietors to restrain underage drinkers by taking them to court and making them pay.

"I definitely think it's going to send a message,'' said DiBenedetti. "Let it be known that all of the bars are going to be doing this, and it's going to cost these underage kids more than a slap on the wrist.''

"We don't want minors to be drinking,'' said Chris Fogarty, owner of the R bar on Sutter Street. "It's like burglars trying to break into your house every night, and if they get in, it's your fault,'' he said.

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