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View Full Version : Mikes Hard Lemonade... It has alcohol?



SeeinRed
04-29-2008, 09:33 AM
Just have to wonder how this guy wouldn't know. I believe him, but wow.


Game Day Mistake Forces Son Into Foster Care


You've probably heard of hard lemonade, but a University of Michigan archaeology professor didn't know alcoholic lemonade even existed.
So when Christopher Ratte ordered a lemonade for his seven-year-old son at a Detroit Tigers game, he didn't think twice about what the vendor handed him.
"A security guard came down the aisle and said, 'Are you giving this to your son to drink?,' and I said, 'Yeah,'" recalled Ratte. "And he said,'Did you know this was alcoholic?,' and I said, 'No, you've got to be kidding.'"
His son Leo had already consumed three-quarters of a bottle.
Officials took him to the hospital where the alcohol didn't even show up in his blood.
But authorities forced the boy into foster care for two days and two nights.
"He was crying when we left him, and of course, we were really terribly worried about him," said Ratte. "I do feel this is a massive overreaction to our case and I think anyone would have to conclude that"
Leo is now back with his parents. They have filed a formal complaint with child protective services.


Link (http://www.wcpo.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=ee787113-7af5-4590-889c-f9a7af8c2820)

Unassisted
04-29-2008, 10:31 AM
How wouldn't he know? Well he does work at the University of Michigan. :evil:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080428/COL04/804280375/&imw=Y


Hard lemonade, hard price
Dad's oversight at Tigers game lands son in foster care

BY BRIAN DICKERSON • FREE PRESS COLUMNIST • April 28, 2008


If you watch much television, you've probably heard of a product called Mike's Hard Lemonade.

And if you ask Christopher Ratte and his wife how they lost custody of their 7-year-old son, the short version is that nobody in the Ratte family watches much television.

The way police and child protection workers figure it, Ratte should have known that what a Comerica Park vendor handed over when Ratte ordered a lemonade for his boy three Saturdays ago contained alcohol, and Ratte's ignorance justified placing young Leo in foster care until his dad got up to speed on the commercial beverage industry.

Even if, in hindsight, that decision seems a bit, um, idiotic.

Ratte is a tenured professor of classical archaeology at the University of Michigan, which means that, on a given day, he's more likely to be excavating ancient burial sites in Turkey than watching "Dancing with the Stars" -- or even the History Channel, for that matter.

The 47-year-old academic says he wasn't even aware alcoholic lemonade existed when he and Leo stopped at a concession stand on the way to their seats in Section 114.

"I'd never drunk it, never purchased it, never heard of it," Ratte of Ann Arbor told me sheepishly last week. "And it's certainly not what I expected when I ordered a lemonade for my 7-year-old."

But it wasn't until the top of the ninth inning that a Comerica Park security guard noticed the bottle in young Leo's hand.

"You know this is an alcoholic beverage?" the guard asked the professor.

"You've got to be kidding," Ratte replied. He asked for the bottle, but the security guard snatched it before Ratte could examine the label.
Mistake or child neglect?

An hour later, Ratte was being interviewed by a Detroit police officer at Children's Hospital, where a physician at the Comerica Park clinic had dispatched Leo -- by ambulance! -- after a cursory exam.

Leo betrayed no symptoms of inebriation. But the physician and a police officer from the Comerica substation suggested the ER visit after the boy admitted he was feeling a little nauseated.

The Comerica cop estimated that Leo had drunk about 12 ounces of the hard lemonade, which is 5% alcohol. But an ER resident who drew Leo's blood less than 90 minutes after he and his father were escorted from their seats detected no trace of alcohol.

"Completely normal appearing," the resident wrote in his report, "... he is cleared to go home."

But it would be two days before the state of Michigan allowed Ratte's wife, U-M architecture professor Claire Zimmerman, to take their son home, and nearly a week before Ratte was permitted to move back into his own house.

And if you think nothing so ludicrous could happen to your family, maybe you should pay a little less attention to who's getting booted from "Dancing with the Stars" and a little more to how the state agency responsible for protecting Michigan's children is going about its work.

Doing their duty

Almost everyone Chris Ratte met the night they took Leo away conceded the state was probably overreacting.

The sympathetic cop who interviewed Ratte and his son at the hospital said she was convinced what happened had been an accident, but that her supervisor was insisting the matter be referred to Child Protective Services.

And Ratte thought the two child protection workers who came to take Leo away seemed more annoyed with the police than with him. "This is so unnecessary," one told Ratte before driving away with his son.

But there was really nothing any of them could do, they all said. They were just adhering to protocol, following orders.

And so what had begun as an outing to the ballpark ended with Leo crying himself to sleep in front of a television inside the Child Protective Services building, and Ratte and his wife standing on the sidewalk outside, wondering when they'd see their little boy again.
A vain rescue mission

Child Protective Services is the unit of the Michigan Department of Human Services responsible for intervening when someone suspects a child is being abused, neglected or endangered. Its powers include the authority to remove children from their homes and transfer them to foster parents who answer only to the state.

By law, CPS officials are forbidden to discuss the particulars of any investigation.

But Mike Patterson, Child and Family Services director for the Wayne County district that includes Comerica Park, said that in general his agency's discretion is limited once police obtain a court order to remove a child from the parental home -- usually authorized, as in Leo's case, by a juvenile court referee responding to a police officer's recommendation.

"Once the court has authorized a child's removal," Patterson told me, "we cannot return the child to the parental custody" until the court has OK'd it.

But that doesn't explain why CPS refused to release Leo to the custody of two aunts -- one a social worker and licensed foster parent -- who drove all night from New England to take custody of their nephew.

Chris Ratte's sisters, Catherine Miller and Felicity Ratte, left Massachusetts at 10:30 the night of the fateful lemonade purchase after the police officer who'd reluctantly requested a removal order told Ratte the state would likely jump at the chance to place Leo with responsible relatives. But when the two women arrived at the CPS office early Sunday, a caseworker explained they would not be allowed to see Leo until they had secured a hotel room.

The sisters quickly complied. But by the time they returned to CPS around 10:30 a.m., their nephew had been taken to an undisclosed foster home, where he would remain until a preliminary court hearing the following afternoon.

By that Monday, April 7, when Ratte and his wife returned for a meeting with Latricia Jones, the CPS caseworker assigned to their case, no one in the family had been able to talk to Leo for a day and a half.

More investigation needed

At a hearing later that day, Jones recommended that Leo remain in foster care until she had completed her investigation, a process she estimated would take several days. It was only after the assistant attorney general who represented CPS admitted that the state was not interested in pursuing the case aggressively that juvenile referee Leslie Graves agreed to release Leo to his mother -- on the condition that Ratte himself relocate to a hotel.

Finally, at a second hearing three days later, Graves dismissed the complaint and permitted Ratte to move home.

Don Duquette, a U-M law professor who directs the university's Child Advocacy Law Clinic, represented Ratte and his wife. He notes sardonically that the most remarkable thing about the couple's case may be the relative speed with which they were reunited with Leo.

Duquette says the emergency removal powers of CPS, though "well-intentioned" are "out of control and partly responsible for the large numbers of kids in the foster care system," which is almost universally acknowledged to be badly overburdened.

Ratte and his wife have filed a formal complaint with the CPS ombudsman's office.

"I have apologized to Leo from the bottom of my heart for the silly mistake that got him into this mess," Ratte wrote in the complaint. "But I have also told him that what happened afterward was an even bigger error, and I would like to be able to say to him that institutions, like people, can learn from their mistakes."

redsmetz
04-29-2008, 05:01 PM
Interestingly, this would not have been an issue in Ohio. I found out last fall that a minor may consume alcohol given to them by their parent. Obviously, I'm not advocating that, particularly for a seven year old, but my son and I were out last year with someone who owned a bar and he asked if we wanted to stop for a beer. I mentioned my son was only 18 and he said I was permitted to provide him a drink. The law is any parent, guardian or spouse may provide if they're over 21 years old. So if a 19 year old is married to a 21 year old, the older spouse could provide alcohol.

This is different than in Missouri where my wife's from. Her younger sister was frantic when we allowed our then 20 year old daughter to have a wine cooler at heir brother's house. Apparently Missouri's law is fairly stringent.

By the way, Michigan does allow minors to consume alcohol for religious purposes. Maybe he could have directed the security folks to watch the opening of Bull Durham about the religion of baseball.

RedlegJake
05-02-2008, 02:04 AM
I guess I'm an idot, too. I didn't know it was alcoholic, either. For cripes sake - it's lemonade! So, yes, I definitely believe the guy.

cincinnati chili
05-02-2008, 02:18 AM
I believe the guy and can't believe that nobody with common sense intervened before the kid had to spend 2 days in foster care.

This would be really funny if it didn't actually happen.

WMR
05-02-2008, 02:23 AM
Yet another instance of government run amok.

MartyFan
05-02-2008, 08:58 AM
I believe the guy...I have a few friends who are archaeologists and frankly, they are incredibly smart on science, history and a wide variety of other things but Pop culture stuff and the sort...forget it.

smoke6
05-02-2008, 10:37 AM
Michigan archaeology professor doesn't always equal the most socially connected individual. Haha, I believe it. :D

BRM
05-02-2008, 11:15 AM
Yet another instance of government run amok.

I gotta agree with you here.

marcshoe
05-02-2008, 12:05 PM
I doubt seriously my parents would have any idea what Mike's Hard Lemonade is. The commercials aired a lot, but not on all types of programs; it would be an easy thing to miss entirely.

IslandRed
05-02-2008, 12:27 PM
A few harsh words need to be reserved for the ballpark vendors, too. If a guy goes to a concession stand -- assuming it's a regular stand with soft drinks etc. and not an alcohol-only outpost -- and orders lemonade, he ought not be given Mike's unless it's verified he wants Mike's.

smoke6
05-02-2008, 12:34 PM
A few harsh words need to be reserved for the ballpark vendors, too. If a guy goes to a concession stand -- assuming it's a regular stand with soft drinks etc. and not an alcohol-only outpost -- and orders lemonade, he ought not be given Mike's unless it's verified he wants Mike's.

Why? It's not like the kid bought it. At the GABP, I'm pretty sure Mike's (not that I would ever drink that crap) is sold by walking venders too. The guy probably bought it and gave it to his kid. Is the vendor supposed to say, "This is alcoholic you know."?

SeeinRed
05-02-2008, 01:28 PM
Why? It's not like the kid bought it. At the GABP, I'm pretty sure Mike's (not that I would ever drink that crap) is sold by walking venders too. The guy probably bought it and gave it to his kid. Is the vendor supposed to say, "This is alcoholic you know."?


Well, a little closer observance to the lable on the bottle would have revealed it to be an alcoholic beverage. I just wonder if he was carded. IMO everyone should be carded, it would have probably raised question as to why he was being carded. However, I think the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Really, the problem is in the way the situation was taken care of. There were a number of people who could have stopped this. The security officer didn't have to report the incident. From there it was a slippery slope of overkill.

MrCinatit
05-02-2008, 04:00 PM
A few harsh words need to be reserved for the ballpark vendors, too. If a guy goes to a concession stand -- assuming it's a regular stand with soft drinks etc. and not an alcohol-only outpost -- and orders lemonade, he ought not be given Mike's unless it's verified he wants Mike's.



That's what I think, as well. If someone orders a lemonade - is it so startling to think they actually want the thing squeezed from a lemon, and simply the thing squeezed from a lemon? Adults like the stuff, too.

IslandRed
05-02-2008, 06:39 PM
Why? It's not like the kid bought it. At the GABP, I'm pretty sure Mike's (not that I would ever drink that crap) is sold by walking venders too. The guy probably bought it and gave it to his kid. Is the vendor supposed to say, "This is alcoholic you know."?

The article said the guy bought it at a concession stand and the kid was with him.

I'm not suggesting they should be smacked with a lawsuit or anything, I'm just saying there might be room for improvement there. I will grant this: If the concession stand did not sell plain old lemonade but had Mike's prominently advertised, then it would be reasonable to assume that's what the guy wanted. The article didn't really address that point. So then it's back on the guy not knowing Mike's was alcoholic, nor having any reason to suspect it was. SeeinRed had a good point about how he probably wasn't carded, which would have been a sure tipoff.

Roy Tucker
05-02-2008, 06:47 PM
The reason why common sense flew out the window and everyone went by the book was the fear of a lawsuit.

All it takes is for the vendor, stadium management, the police, children's services, etc. to get smacked with a multi-million dollar suit and then rigid policies and procedures get established with no room for judgment, leniency, or discretion.

You don't get fired for going by the book. Let the next guy put his butt on the line, I want to keep my job.

cincinnati chili
05-03-2008, 12:55 AM
The reason why common sense flew out the window and everyone went by the book was the fear of a lawsuit.

All it takes is for the vendor, stadium management, the police, children's services, etc. to get smacked with a multi-million dollar suit and then rigid policies and procedures get established with no room for judgment, leniency, or discretion.

You don't get fired for going by the book. Let the next guy put his butt on the line, I want to keep my job.

I see your point to an extent. But even with immunity statutes, I think that a city would be MORE likely to face an expensive lawsuit (and who knows, it may still happen) for putting a kid into foster care in a de minimis situation like this.

smoke6
05-03-2008, 11:06 AM
*Quick Fix*

Mike's Hard Lemonade changes slogan to, "Get as sh*t faced as a sorority girl with Mike's!" That will clear up any doubt. :D