Reciprocal Retailer Wine Shipping Law Challenged in Missouri

missouriFollowing on the heals of the filing of a lawsuit challenging Illinois’ discriminatory retailer wine shipping law, a new lawsuit has been filed in Missouri that challenges that state’s law that only permits retailers in states where Missouri retailers may ship to ship wine into the state of Missouri. This so-called “reciprocal” wine shipping law unconstitutionally interferes with interstate commerce.

The suit was filed by the firm of Epstein, Cohen, Seif & Porter, the same firm that recently filed suit against Illinois challenging its ban on wine shipments from out of state. The Missouri lawsuit (Sarasota Wine Market v. Nixon) explains that “This statutory scheme [reciprocal shipping agreements) discriminates against out-of-state wine retailers, and provides economic advantages and protection to wine retailers in Missouri, in violation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.”

In the 2005 Granholm v. Heald Supreme Court decision, the Court case serious doubt on the constitutionality of reciprocal wine shipping laws when it wrote:

“The rule prohibiting state discrimination against interstate commerce follows also from the principle that States should not be compelled to negotiate with each other regarding favored or disfavored status for their own citizens. States do not need, and may not attempt, to negotiate with other States regarding their mutual economic interests.”

And this is of course exactly what the Missouri law requires states to do, hence the lawsuit challenging the Missouri law. Note that Missouri appears to have no issue whatsoever with retailer to consumer shipping either by in-state or out-of-state retailers. As long a state allows Missouri retailers to ship in, retailers in such states may also ship to Missouri residents. It is the essence of a protectionist law that discriminates.

The National Association of Wine Retailers supports the suit and will work with the attorneys litigating in any way possible.