Inmates sue beer companies, want $1 billion in damages

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Five inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution have filed a lawsuit against national beer and wine companies, alleging that alcohol led to their crimes and that they should have been warned alcohol can be addictive.

The U.S. District Court confirmed that a civil suit was filed Dec. 10 by inmates Keith Allen Brown, and co-plaintiffs Jeremy Joseph Brown, Cory Alan Baugh, Woodrow John Grant and Steven Todd Thompson.

The inmates claim that the beer companies should have warned consumers that the alcohol they sell is habit forming and addictive.

The suit names several major brewers: Miller Brewing Company, Anheuser-Busch Co., Adolph Coors Co., Brown-Furman Co., American Brands Inc., Pepsi-Cola, RJR Nabisco, Gallo's Winery, Ernest Gallo and Julio Gallo.

The inmates state in the lawsuit that because they drank alcohol and without knowing that it could become addictive, the plaintiffs have "done actions which have caused them to become incarcerated for a great portion of their lives."

"The plaintiffs claim if they had not been addicted to the products sold by the defendants that they would have lead normal lives as productive members of society," the lawsuit states.

The defendants are seeking $700 million in compensatory damages and $300 million in punitive damages.