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Statutory Interpretation – Underage and Intoxicated Persons – Bowling Centers

WI Court of Appeals – District IV

Case Name: City of Stoughton v. Erik J. Olson, et al.,

Case No.: 2019AP1872

Officials: Kloppenburg, Graham, and Nashold, JJ.

Focus: Statutory Interpretation – Underage and Intoxicated Persons – Bowling Centers

This appeal is about the meaning of the term “bowling centers” as it is used in WIS. STAT. § 125.07(3)(a) (2017-18). That statute generally prohibits anyone under the legal drinking age from entering or being on premises that are licensed to sell alcohol, but it lists many exemptions, including one that allows underage individuals to be on the premises of “bowling centers” that have alcohol licenses. See § 125.07(3)(a)3.

The parties dispute whether a dedicated bar area within a bowling center is covered by this exemption. The City of Stoughton contends that any portion of a bowling center that is dedicated primarily to the sale or consumption of alcohol is carved out from the exemption. The defendants, Erik Olson and Carter Smith, contend that the exemption applies to the entire center, including the bar area on the premises. We agree with the defendants and therefore affirm the circuit court’s order, which dismissed citations that the City issued to the defendants for violating WIS. STAT. § 125.07(3)(a).

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Derek A Hawkins is trademark corporate counsel for Harley-Davidson. Hawkins oversees the prosecution and maintenance of the Harley-Davidson’s international trademark portfolio in emerging markets.

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