Federal Court Dismisses Anti-Trust Challenge To Connecticut's Liquor Pricing Law

An interesting court case out of Connecticut arose when alcohol retailer Total Wine & More brought a lawsuit arguing that the state's minimum pricing law ran afoul federal antitrust princples. Although the lawsuit was dismissed at the district court level, the interplay between antitrust law and the world of booze could be an interesting trend to monitor moving forward:

"A federal court on Tuesday dismissed an effort that would have lowered prices and increased competition in the Connecticut liquor market by overturning the outdated state system under which manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers combine to establish minimum prices.

In dismissing a suit by retailer Total Wine & More, Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall said the state laws and regulations establishing the complex, Connecticut pricing system cannot be preempted by federal anti-trust law that prohibits activities restricting interstate commerce and competition in the marketplace.

The Connecticut system establishes a floor for liquor prices that, for the most part, retailers cannot go below.

Hall's decision said that she was effectively bound by applicable federal law in Connecticut to uphold a liquor pricing system that legal experts have said was designed years ago to discourage the consumption of alcoholic beverages by Connecticut residents.

Total Wine argued repeatedly in its litigation that the Connecticut pricing system is unfair to consumers and to retailers trying to reduce prices in order to obtain a bigger share of a competitive market..."

Read the rest here: http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-total-wine-lawsuit-dismissed-0607-20170606-story.html