8th Circuit Reverses Win for Missouri on Alcohol Advertising

The 8th Circuit has ruled that a district court was wrong to grant a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss brought by Missouri against a complaint by the Missouri Broadcasters Association. The District Court opinion is here.

The Missouri Broadcasters brought a challenge to three provisions of the Missouri alcohol code. The challenged provisions were laws that prohibit advertising by alcohol retailers of discounted prices outside their establishment, advertising of alcohol below costs, and a requirement that advertisements list all retailers rather than just one.

The 8th Circuit believed the district court erred in dismissing the case for failing to state a claim as it noted; “We hold the plaintiffs pled more than sufficient facts to state a claim plausible on its face.”

Moreover the court brushed aside the “commonsense link” arguments by the state and suggested the proffered defenses by the state to these laws failed to survive First Amendment scrutiny.

As the motion to dismiss is now overturned, the matter will return to district court and possibly be muted by legislative action now that the Missouri Legislature is in session.


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