Lane Powell Achieves Trial Victory for Torii Mor Winery
Lane Powell achieved a significant victory for Torii Mor Winery and one of its servers in its tasting room, who was cited for serving a minor alcohol during an Oregon Liquor Control Commission (“OLCC”) sponsored sting operation. In addition to the citation of the server, a notice of violation of liquor laws was also issued to Torii Mor, which, if upheld, could have led to stiff penalties and serious future implications for the winery. The server pled not guilty to the citation in light of the facts, which confirmed that the server asked for ID, reviewed it, and was attempting to confirm the decoy’s age when the minor decoy stepped away from the counter and left the winery before being served. Torii Mor also contested the notice of violation with the OLCC, which initiated an administrative process.
Lane Powell represented Torii Mor in the administrative proceeding and defended the server in the Yamhill County Circuit proceeding. The OLCC violation was largely dependent on the outcome of the server’s citation hearing. However, the Circuit Court reset the citation hearing, over our objection, paving the way for the OLCC administrative proceeding to occur first. As a result, Lane Powell Counsel to the Firm Dwight Holton assisted at the hearing in addressing the implications of allowing the server to testify at the OLCC hearing prior to her circuit court case. Although Lane Powell lost their star witness for the OLCC hearing, they were able to establish through the OLCC’s own witnesses, that they lacked credibility. One witness for the OLCC even admitted to “staging” a glass of wine for a photo that was part of the OLCC’s notice of violation. Judge Richard Barber concluded that there were far too many inconsistencies between the stories of the OLCC witnesses, and he dismissed the OLCC notice of violation. Judge Barber’s thoughtful opinion secured an unprecedented win against the OLCC, ultimately influencing the District Attorney’s decision to dismiss the citation against the server based on lack of sufficient evidence. Lane Powell Shareholder Janet Larsen was the lead attorney on both of these litigation matters for Torii Mor. Lane Powell Attorney Cozette Tran Caffee’s superb briefing for both proceedings helped secure this win for Torii Mor.