6th Circuit Affirms in Part, Reverses in Part in Ohio Retailer Shipping Case

The 6th Circuit has ruled on an appeal of the challenge to Ohio’s retailer shipping laws.  As a result, the district court will likely have a chance to clarify her previous decision as the 6th Circuit asked for a new review of the evidence. A copy of the decision can be found here.

The 6th Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that the Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety had Eleventh Amendment immunity.  Judge Moore dissented from this part of the opinion.

However, the court reversed and remanded the plaintiff’s challenge to the importation and the Direct Ship Restriction and Plaintiffs’ standing to challenge the Transportation Limit.  The 6th Circuit remanded the case with instructions that:

“the district court shall consider the facts and evidence presented in this case and determine whether the challenged statutes (1) “can be justified as a public health or safety measure or on some other legitimate nonprotectionist ground,” and whether (2) their “predominant effect” is “the protection of public health or safety,” rather than “protectionism.” Tenn. Wine, 139 S. Ct. at 2474. “

As other cases winding through the courts are already doing this fact-finding, I am not sure this case will have much relevance to other litigation.  This case will proceed back to Judge Morrison for a renewed weighing of facts called for by the 6th Circuit.

(previous post) District Court Rules for Ohio in Retailer Shipping Challenge

Judge Morrison of the Eastern District of Ohio granted the state of Ohio’s summary judgment motion to dismiss an out of state retailer’s challenge to Ohio alcohol laws.   A copy of the decision can be found here.

The court noted that the 6th Circuit had already ruled in a “substantially similar” case out of Michigan.   The court noted that there were legitimate nonprotectionist grounds for the Ohio law and the predominate effect of the law was not protectionist.

It is unknown at this time whether the plaintiffs will appeal this loss or whether they will concentrate on their other half dozen lawsuits across the country.

(previous post) Dueling Motions for Summary Judgment Filed in Ohio Retailer Shipping Case

While the Supreme Court declined to take another dormant Commerce Clause case in 2021 and we wait for the 4th and 7th Circuit, action at the district court level continues.

Briefs were filed this week in the Ohio retailer shipping case.   The court had earlier dismissed some defendants but declined to dismiss the case pending more discovery.  The parties are all back seeking to have the court rule on their motions.

The state of Ohio filed its brief supporting the motion for summary judgment.   The intervening wine and wholesalers association likewise filed a separate brief in support of the state.  At the same time the plaintiffs filed their brief in support of their competing motion for summary judgment as well as a request for relief of a previous order dismissing the challenge to Ohio wine importation limits and one of the defendants. The plaintiff’s brief and attachments can be found here.

Ohio is within the 6th Circuit which previously upheld a similar Michigan alcohol retailer shipping law and the Supreme Court declined to take the case in 2021.

(previous post) Ohio Wins Some and Loses Some on Retail Shipping Motion to Dismiss

A busy week of dormant Commerce Clause litigation continues.  Judge Sarah Morrison of the Eastern District of Ohio partially granted the state of Ohio’s Motion to Dismiss but ruled against outright dismissal of the case.

In her decision, Judge Morrison granted the motion to dismiss most of the individually named state defendants but kept the case alive for the underlying charge against the state.  Judge Morrison noted that there needs to be additional information for her to properly rule on the underlying motion to dismiss so she ordered the Plaintiff to submit additional proof related to the likelihood of enforcement actions against the plaintiffs.

(previous post) Motion to Dismiss and Response Filed in Ohio Retailer Shipping Case

The state of Ohio has filed its Motion to Dismiss the retailer shipping case brought by an Illinois retailer seeking the right to ship to Ohio consumers.  It notes several defects in the complaint centered around standing and redressability.

The Defendant’s response to the state’s motion predictably disagrees with the state’s view citing the rich history of litigation within states in the 6th Circuit and urges the court to allow them to move the evidentiary stages.

(previous post) Ohio Wholesaler Group Intervenes in Ohio Retailer Litigation

The Wholesale Beer & Wine Association of Ohio has been permitted to  intervene in the pending dormant commerce clause challenge filed by an Illinois retailer alleging that Ohio retail delivery laws violate the dormant Commerce Clause.

(previous post) Ohio Joins the Litigation Club As There Is a New Retailer Lawsuit Filed in Ohio

Earlier this month Ohio was covered on this website for going on the offense to prevent untaxed alcohol sales into the state.   This week, they are now a defendant as an Illinois retailer has brought a dormant Commerce Clause challenge against them.

The Complaint filed on behalf of House of Glunz retail store in Illinois alleges that Ohio law violates the dormant Commerce Clause because it allows Ohio retailers to do take orders of wine and deliveries in Ohio but claims a retailer in Illinois cannot.

This lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Ohio is brought by the same law firm that has at least eight other dormant Commerce Clause challenges against various states including one that has sought review at the United States Supreme Court.

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