Brewery Sued Over Traffic Death Of Underaged Drinker

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A Reno woman has sued Coors Brewing Co. over her son's death in a traffic accident, claiming it promotes underage drinking.

In her lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washoe County District Court, Jodie Pisco contends Coors has failed in its duty to protect the country's youth from drinking. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

Her 19-year-old son, Ryan, was killed in March 2002 after he drank Coors at a party in Reno and drove his girlfriend's car into a light pole at 90 mph.

"They should be well aware that people under 21 are drinking Coors," said Ken McKenna, Jodie Pisco's lawyer. "They should be liable for the damage caused by underage drinking."

Laura Sankey, a spokeswoman for Golden, Colo.-based Coors, said she could not comment on pending litigation but the company adamantly opposes drinking by minors.

"Coors Brewing Company doesn't want underage consumers - period," Sankey told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "Tragedies like this further reinforce why the fight against underage drinking and drunk driving must continue."

A person answering the phone at New West Distributing Inc., a local Coors distributor also named in the lawsuit, had no comment.

Pisco drank his favorite beer, Coors, at a party near the University of Nevada, Reno before becoming intoxicated and crashing the car.

Rescue workers said they found a Coors box in the car, and the wreckage reeked of alcohol.

"Coors sponsors and supports events that are attractive to minors and youthful persons, glorifying a culture of youth, sex and glamour while hiding the dangers of alcohol abuse and addiction," the suit says.

"Coors targets the youth of America with false images of conquest, achievement and success that are reckless, willful and a deliberate disregard for the impact of illegal alcohol consumption by underage youths," the suit adds.

Despite Pisco's intoxication and lack of a valid driver's license, his girlfriend, Heather Taylor, allowed him to drive off in her car, which had been given to her by her mother, Janice Taylor, the suit says.

The mother and daughter also were named in the suit but could not be reached for comment.