Checkback: Bar lawsuit

Author: Ed Cohen

What's the latest on the underage students sued by a local bar in connection with a raid that cost the bar its liquor license?

The bar, the Boat Club, hasn't lost its license permanently yet, but it's in danger of doing so.

In September, 2004, the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, acting on the recommendation of the Alcoholic Beverage Board of Saint Joseph County, voted to deny a renewal of the Hill Street bar's alcohol sales permit. Appeals may be pending.

The Boat Club joined the ranks of Bridget McGuire's Filling Station and Finnigan's Irish Pub on January 24, 2003, when a raid on the establishment bar resulted in citations for more than 200 underage patrons, most of them Notre Dame and Saint Mary's students. Like Bridget's and Finnigan's before it, the Boat Club was widely known as the bar where underage students could gain access using a fake ID.

After the raid the bar sued more than 200 of those cited, seeking damages of $3,000 per person. The suit argued that the students broke the law in fraudulently gaining entry, which sparked the bar's legal problems, so they should have to compensate the business. A county court magistrate dismissed the lawsuits, but last June a state appeals court reversed that decision. Some of the cases reportedly have been settled but others were set for hearings in October.