Oral Arguments Held in 7th Circuit on Retailer Challenge to Indiana Law

The 7th Circuit held oral arguments on the Chicago Wine challenge to Indiana laws banning out of state retailers from shipping to Indiana residents.  The link to the oral argument can be found here.

Judge  Easterbrook, Judge Kanne, and Judge Scudder served on this panel.  Judge Easterbrook noted that there have been a bunch of 7th Circuit cases out of Indiana over the years and he is not incorrect (Bridenbaugh, Baude, Lebamoff 1, Lebamoff 2, E.F. Transit to name a few).  The confusion over the status of the various cases brought by Lebamoff was mildly amusing.

It is always dangerous to offer an opinion on who won/lost at oral argument and that is more true after listening to this argument.  The court gave a hard time to both sides in this case and it is unclear from their questioning which way they are leaning.

The 7th Circuit should decide this case in the first half of 2022 but we also remember that one of these 7th Circuit cases took over a year to produce an opinion.

(previous post) Amicus Briefs Filed in 7th Circuit on Case Related to Challenge to Indiana Retail Delivery Laws

The effort by an Illinois retailer to sell directly to Indiana residents is before the 7th Circuit.  Chicago Wine Company and others had filed a dormant Commerce Clause challenge against the governor and other members of the State of Indiana. The District Court  ruled for Indiana on the dormant Commerce Clause claims relating to delivery and importing and now the plaintiffs have sought review in the 7th Circuit on these matters.  The plaintiffs won on a residency law challenge which is not part of this appeal and the plaintiffs have dropped their Privileges and Immunities challenges.

The plaintiffs have filed their opening brief.   The state of Indiana and intervening wholesaler association have also filed their joint brief.

Amicus briefs have been filed (and accepted by the 7th Circuit which often does not accept amicus briefs) by the Center for Alcohol Policy as well as a brief by Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America and American Beverage Licensees.

The appellant has time to file its response brief and oral argument will be set for later this year but that may be stayed if the Supreme Court decides to take the pending cert petition from the 8th Circuit.

(previous post) One Less Retail Shipping Case – Texas Lawsuit Dropped

There is one less retail direct shipping dormant Commerce Clause case as the plaintiffs in the Texas lawsuit have voluntarily dismissed without prejudice their lawsuit against Texas.  But don’t worry there are at least eight others still active in the federal courts across the country.

(earlier post) Two Additional Retail Wine Shipping Cases Filed (Indiana and Texas)

I neglected to post the other day two additional lawsuits filed by James Tanford on behalf of wine retailers challenging state laws in Indiana and Texas.

The Indiana Complaint is by wine fans and a wine retailer called the Chicago Wine Company.  The Texas Complaint was filed by  a consumer, a business owner and a corporation called House of Glunz claiming to be a wine retailer.

Both complaints allege that the state laws that do not favor their business model violate the dormant commerce clause and also violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause in Article IV of the United States Constitution.  Both the 5th Circuit and 7th Circuit have previously addressed these issues but that was before the recent Supreme Court decision in Tennessee Wine Retailers Association.

There recently was an article in Drinks Business with a quote by the plaintiffs’ attorney where he noted his goal of “free trade in alcohol” across the country.

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