New Lawsuit in Michigan Claims Arbitrary Enforcement By State of Preempted Wine Law

A lawsuit has been filed in the western district court in Michigan by certain winery and cider interests against a new Michigan law and its enforcement.   Essentially, after many years of deferring to federal wine law, the plaintiffs assert that Michigan has created new vague laws in the area impacting wine production and bonded winery transfers.  On top of this there have been enforcement actions by the state of Michigan that plaintiffs feel amount to a taking and/ or arbitrary act of government.

The complaint alleges that the federal regime of wine regulation preempts efforts by Michigan to regulate in this area.  The only attempts of federal preemption in the Federal Alcohol Administration Act that I am aware of is the preemption language in 27 USC 215 (Federal Warning Label).

Much of this case is Michigan fact specific related to the enforcement and the “he said, she said” aspects of the complaints relating to the vagueness, arbitrariness and takings counts.   As such only the preemption challenge may be relevant to other states.

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