A jury has found an Idaho-based grocery store chain free of wrongdoing in a civil suit filed by a Nibley family over an alcohol-related accident.
Boyd W. and Sheri Schiess alleged in their suit that the Logan branch of Albertson's was negligent in selling beer to Aaron Klopfenstein, 23, prior to an auto accident on Oct. 26, 1986.The plaintiffs, along with their 14-year-old daughter Amy, were injured when Klopfenstein's vehicle collided with theirs in Blacksmith Fork Canyon.
The four-man, four-woman jury heard seven days of testimony before concluding that Klopfenstein did not purchase beer from the store on Oct. 25 or 26, 1986.
Klopfenstein, who was 19 at the time, was cited for driving too fast for existing conditions, improper control of a vehicle, driving left of center and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Albertson's attorney LeRoy S. Axland denied that the Logan store had sold beer to Klopfenstein and said the Schiess suit contained no proof of the store doing so.
He further argued that Oct. 26, 1986, was a Sunday, a day when beer sales are prohibited in Logan.
Attorney Lyle Hillyard, who represented the plaintiff, said "apparently the jury chose not to believe Aaron Klopfenstein's testimony about purchasing the beer at Albertson's."
Hillyard said the Schiess family entered into a settlement agreement with Klopfenstein in 1989 and released him from liability.
Hillyard said he was frustrated over the fact that he had found several people willing to testify that they had bought beer while they were under age at the store, but that visiting Judge John F. Wahlquist would not allow the evidence.
Testimony showed that medical expenses from the accident totaled $7,481.93 for Boyd Scheiss, who said he received permanent injuries; $2,973.51 for his wife Sheri; and $18,200 for Amy.
The suit had sought unspecified damages for each family member but did not name an actual amount.