Tulsa, OK – A civil lawsuit against a liquor store which sold alcohol to a minor who died in a car wreck recently settled on the second day of trial with $1.5 million going to the teenage victim’s family.
The parents of 17-year-old Colton Kerns agreed to settle the lawsuit as long as the settlement included stipulations which would help reduce the instances in which liquor store clerks to sell alcohol to minors.
“Our main goal now is to make sure another family doesn’t have to suffer the tragedy of losing their teenaged son or daughter,” said Donna Kerns, mother of Colton. “We pray that additional training will help clerks understand how important it is to follow the laws that keep our kids safe.”
One of the primary requirements of the agreement was that all employees who sell beer or alcohol at any of The Woodshed convenience stores or liquor stores will participate in training sponsored by the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission.
“A civil lawsuit is the only way our community’s safety rules can be enforced in a tragic case like this,” said Laurie Koller, attorney with Carr & Carr who represented the family. “Adults have a responsibility to keep children safe and to obey the laws that are in place to protect underage citizens. By holding this liquor store responsible, other liquor stores hopefully will learn that the safety of teenagers is a priority.”
With seven convenience stores, one with a liquor store, and one truck stop in the Grand Lake area, The Woodsheds employ approximately 100 workers who will now be required to undergo training from the ABLE Commission.
ABLE Commission Agent Erik Smoot said, “Protecting the public is the reason the ABLE Commission exists. We hope this settlement is seen as a wake-up call to retailers who sell alcohol that their job has responsibilities which matter to families.”
Duane Kerns, father of Colton, said, “The money will help us help other families. We want to buy some land and a cabin to set up a local hunting reserve and offer counseling and safe activities to kids, plus we can further fund the scholarship for a welding student that we have already established in our son’s name.
Here at Carr & Carr we help people with problems involving child care abuse, car wrecks, wrongful deaths, defective and recalled products and insurance claim denials. With eight attorneys, the firm has offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Springdale in Northwest Arkansas.