The City of Stoughton plans to appeal a court decision alders believe could set a precedent for allowing local establishments to avoid underage drinking citations.
Dane County Circuit Court Judge John Hyland on Aug. 15 dismissed a case against Viking Lanes, 1410 U.S. Hwy. 51, which had received a citation for allowing an underage drinker into the alley’s bar area without a legal guardian.
Though the person’s presence was in violation of state law, Hyland ruled the premises of the bowling alley included the bar area.
Stoughton police chief Greg Leck told the Hub this month the city has always considered the bar area to be separate from the bowling alley facility. The rest of the bowling alley is not statutorily considered to be an alcohol sale and consumption area, so the judge’s decision to include the bar area within the premises of the bowling alley took Viking Lanes off the hook for underage drinking violations.
Erik Olson and Carter Smith were the defendants in the case, the latter of whom is the president of Viking Lanes, while the City of Stoughton was the plaintiff.
The city filed a notice of appeal Sept. 27, which could have been withdrawn if the council had chosen not to appeal, city attorney Matt Dregne told alders Oct. 22 before they voted to authorize use of up to $10,000 to pay for the appeal.
The money would come from the city’s contingency fund, which has $55,280, city finance director Jamin Friedl told the council.