Distiller gets $25k default judgment for illegally shipping spirits

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 12:15 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) announced a default judgment against Island Distillers, Inc., a Hawaii-based distiller, in their suit against the distiller for making illegal sales and shipments of spirits to Michigan consumers.

The suit alleged illegal activities by the distiller under the federal Twenty-first Amendment Enforcement Act and Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act.

Island Distillers, Inc. failed to respond, despite having received the summons and complaint.  Judge Mark A. Goldsmith of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted Nessel’s motion for entry of a default judgment on Feb. 7.

“Whether they are shipping within Michigan, or across state borders, alcohol shippers must abide by Michigan’s liquor laws,” Nessel said. “We are appreciative that so many companies want to do business in our state, but they must abide by Michigan laws. I am grateful to the Liquor Control Commission for their excellent enforcement efforts in combating illegal shipments like these.”

The default judgment requires Island Distillers, Inc. to pay the state fine of $25,000 for violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and $402 in costs.

The default judgment also permanently enjoins Island Distillers, Inc. from making illegal sales and shipments of alcoholic liquor to Michigan consumers.

“The Commission will continue its vigorous enforcement efforts in partnership with Attorney General Nessel’s office to combat the illegal direct shipping of alcohol into this state, said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, each year, unlicensed companies skirt state laws and import thousands of bottles of wine into Michigan illegally. The effects of this illegal importation are significant: minors can easily obtain alcoholic liquor, state officials have no effective means to ensure that the imported products are safe, and Michiganders lose out on millions in tax revenue to provide vital services.

To report suspected liquor law or rule violations anonymously, you can visit the MLCC Enforcement Division website here.

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