Missouri District Court Dismisses Out of State Retailer Challenge to Missouri Alcohol Law

United States District Judge Henry Edward Autrey granted the state of Missouri’s Motion to Dismiss the complaint filed by a Florida wine retailer, a Missouri consumer, and a Florida wine “advisor” against the Missouri law that only allows Missouri retailers to deliver to consumers.   The Complaint alleged violations of the dormant Commerce Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Constitution.

Judge Autrey noted that the complaint failed to meet standing by alleging any injury in fact.  The Court’s opinion noted Plaintiff’s claims were too abstract and hypothetical to meet requirements of injury in fact.  The judge noted that the complaint failed to state a claim that could win.  The Court also noted that the Supreme Court’s Granholm decision and the 8th Circuit’s Southern Wine decision precluded the relief sought by Plaintiffs as the multi-tier system of alcohol regulation being challenged by Plaintiffs has been upheld previously.  Furthermore, the plaintiff’s P&I challenge was dismissed for failing to state a privilege or immunity protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause.

Plaintiff was given 10 days to attempt to amend its Complaint in accordance with the order and opinion.

This decision continues a trend of courts to reject expanding the dormant Commerce Clause protections articulated in 2005 in Granholm for alcohol producers, to other tiers of the industry such as wholesalers or retailers.  The 2nd, 4th, 5th and 8th Circuit have dealt with this issue and have rejected the application of Granholm to all tiers of the alcohol industry.

 

(previous post) New Dormant Commerce Clause Lawsuit Filed by Out of State Retailer in Missouri

A new lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Missouri challenging the law that allows Missouri retailers to sell, ship and deliver wine directly to Missouri consumers but not out of state retailers.  The Complaint alleges violations of the dormant Commerce Clause and Privileges & Immunities law.  It is brought by a Florida wine retailer, its owner and a Missouri resident.  The case is Sarasota Wine Market v. Nixon.

Similar lawsuits seeking the same relief have failed in the 2nd Circuit (Arnold v. Buy Rite)  and the 5th Circuit (Siesta Village v. Steen).   Missouri also has successfully defended wholesaler level regulation in the Southern Wine case at the 8th Circuit.

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