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Total Wine’s Lawsuit Against Connecticut Minimum Pricing Rules Dismissed

June 7, 2017

The U.S. District Court for Connecticut has dismissed Total Wine & More’s lawsuit challenging minimum pricing rules in the state. The ruling, issued by Judge Janet C. Hall, stated that federal anti-trust laws aimed at promoting competition shall not preempt Connecticut’s state laws, which were long ago crafted to discourage alcohol consumption. In a footnote to the dismissal, Judge Hall noted that such changes must be pursued through the Connecticut executive or legislative branch.

In Connecticut, the beverage alcohol system establishes a minimum wholesale and retail price and prevents distributors from offering volume discounts to retailers. This provision prevents larger businesses, like Total Wine & More, from using their size and scale to the advantage of the company and consumers, according to the retailer.

Smaller retailers, collectively lobbying through the Connecticut Package Store Association, say that dismantling the current regulations would destroy small businesses, put employees out of work and cost the state substantial tax revenue.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has previously attempted to dismantle the minimum pricing laws but lobbyists for the “mom and pop” retail segment have so far successfully blocked those attempts. —Shane English

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