For Immediate Release: February 10, 2010
Wine Retailers Petition for En Banc Hearing in
Texas Wine Shipping Discrimination Case
Specialty Wine Retailers Association Seeks End To Legal Harassment of Texas Wine Consumers and Wine Retailers
(SACRAMENTO, Calif)—Convinced a recent ruling by a three-judge panel in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ignored Supreme Court precedent as well as Fifth Circuit case law, the Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) today filed a petition for an En Banc hearing before the full Fifth Circuit court in its Siesta Village Market v. Steen lawsuit. The suit, originally filed in 2007, concerns Texas law that discriminates against out-of-state wine retailers and blocks Texas wine lovers’ ability to access wine.
Specialty Wine Retailers Association filed the petition for an En Banc hearing in the wake of a January 26th ruling by the court. That ruling held that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution protects wine producers from discriminatory state regulation, but not wine retailers or the Texas consumers wishing to purchase wine from them. The ruling by the three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit court overturned an earlier Federal District Court ruling that called Texas’ prohibition against consumers purchasing wine from out of state retailers unconstitutional.
“We are concerned not only that the Fifth Circuit’s recent ruling disregarded opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court, but that it also disregarded precedent from its own cases within the Fifth Circuit,” said Tom Wark, executive director of SWRA. “We are of course further concerned that the outcome of not appealing this decision would be that Texas wine lovers will continue to be harassed by anti-consumer laws that serve no other purpose than to shield well-heeled campaign contributors from competition.”
An “En Banc” hearing occurs when all judges from a court, not just a small panel of judges, come together to consider a case upon which a smaller panel of judges has already ruled. Days on the judicial calendar are regularly set aside for en banc hearings before the entire court. In order for SWRA to have its case heard en banc, one of the sixteen judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals must ask for such a hearing.
Specialty Wine Retailer Association’s brief petitioning for an en banc hearing can be downloaded here: http://www.specialtywineretailers.org/documents.html
Specialty Wine Retailers Association is an organization of progressive wine retailers from across the United States. They include brick and mortar wine retailers, Internet wine retailers, wine auction houses, and wine clubs along with consumer and industry supporters. To learn more visit http://www.specialtywineretailers.org
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Tom Wark, Specialty Wine Retailers Association
707-935-4424 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Specialty Wine Retailers Association