Court Dismisses Retailer Challenge to Kentucky Law

Judge Hale of the Western District of Kentucky dismissed a constitutional challenge by an out-of-state retailer to Kentucky laws as it sought to be able to ship alcohol to Kentucky residents from out of state retail locations.  The Court granted the state’s motion to dismiss the dormant Commerce Clause and Privileges & Immunities challenges. The court noted that the recent Lebamoff decision by the 6th Circuit in a similar retailer challenge to Michigan’s law clarified that the Kentucky challenge must fail.  Judge Hale noted, “Lebamoff thus forecloses Plaintiffs’ Commerce Clause claim, and this claim must be dismissed.” Earlier in the day a similar constitutional challenge was dismissed across the river in Missouri by the 8th Circuit. (previous post) New Wine Retailer Cases Filed in Kentucky and New Jersey Two new retail wine shipping cases were filed this past week.  Both lawsuits are from the same law firm that has brought various pieces of litigation to a dozen states challenging state alcohol laws on behalf of out of state winery or wine retailer shipping interests.

Both new lawsuits claim the state laws violate the Commerce Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.
  • The Kentucky complaint (Tannins of Indianapolis v. Bevin) seeks to strike down the KY retailer residency law and the KY law that bars out of state companies from shipping to Kentucky residents.
  • The New Jersey complaint (Freeman v. Murphy) alleges that New Jersey law bars out of state retailers from shipping. The complaint does not list any challenged New Jersey statutes.

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