Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Beer Industry League of Louisiana v. The City of New Orleans

Supreme Court of Louisiana

June 27, 2018

BEER INDUSTRY LEAGUE OF LOUISIANA AND WINE AND SPIRITS FOUNDATION OF LOUISIANA, INC.
v.
THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS AND NORMAN S. FOSTER, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND DIRECTOR OF FINANCE FOR THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION, INC.
v.
THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS AND NORMAN S. FOSTER, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND DIRECTOR OF FINANCE FOR THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS

          ON APPEAL FROM THE ORLEANS CIVIL DISTRICT COURT FOR THE PARISH OF ORLEANS

          GUIDRY, JUSTICE.

         In this case, we are called upon to decide whether an ordinance of the City of New Orleans levying a gallonage tax based on volume upon dealers who handle high alcoholic content beverages is a valid exercise of its authority to levy and collect occupational license taxes within the meaning of La. Const. Art. VI, § 28, which permits a local governmental subdivision to impose an occupational license tax not greater than that imposed by the state. This case is before us pursuant to our appellate jurisdiction, La. Const. Art. V, § 5(D), because the ordinance has been declared unlawful and unconstitutional by the trial court. For the following reasons, we find the portion of the ordinance at issue is not an unconstitutional exercise of the City's taxing authority. We thus reverse the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, and remand to the trial court for further proceedings.

         FACTS and PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On November 3, 2016, the New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance to "amend and reordain" Sections 10-501, 10-502, and 10-511 of the New Orleans Municipal Code relative to the imposition and collection of "an occupational license tax or excise tax on dealers of alcoholic beverages…." Ord. No. 27179, Nov. 3, 2016. The ordinance, which is set forth in full below, was to take effect on January 1, 2017. [1] Id., § 2. The Beer Industry League of Louisiana and Wine and Spirits Foundation of Louisiana, Inc. filed a Petition for Injunctive Relief and Declaratory Judgment on December 22, 2016, against the defendants, the City of New Orleans and Norman S. Foster, then the Chief Financial Officer and the Director of Finance for the City of New Orleans.[2] The Louisiana Restaurant Association, Inc., on January 13, 2017, filed a similar petition, which was thereafter consolidated with the suit filed by the Beer Industry League and the Wine and Spirits Foundation, all of whom will be referred to as the plaintiffs. That same day the district court issued a temporary restraining order, which ordered the defendants "restrained, enjoined, and prohibited from attempting to levy, or imposing, or collecting fees or taxes pursuant to New Orleans Code of Ordinances Secs. 10-501 and 10-511." The district court also set a hearing on the preliminary injunction.

         On January 30, 2017, the district court denied the preliminary injunction and dissolved the temporary restraining order previously issued. Thereafter, in April 2017, the City sent out a notice to certain alcohol dealers that it would begin enforcing the license taxes. The plaintiffs later filed a Motion to Escrow Funds seeking leave to deposit into the registry of the court any amounts collected pursuant to Section 10-501 et seq. The trial court granted the motion on August 30, 2017.

         Ordinance No. 27179 provides as follows:

AN ORDINANCE to amend and reordain Sections 10-501, 10-502, and 10-511 of the Code of the City of New Orleans, relative to imposition and collection of an occupational license tax or excise tax on dealers of alcoholic beverages, and to otherwise provide with respect thereto.
WHEREAS, Article VI, Section 28 of the Louisiana Constitution authorizes a local governmental subdivision to impose an occupational license tax not greater than that imposed by the state; and
WHEREAS, Louisiana Revised Statutes 26:341 and 26:342 impose an excise or license tax on all beverages of high and low alcoholic content that are handled in the state; and
WHEREAS, the taxes imposed by the City of New Orleans are not greater than those imposed by the state; NOW THEREFORE
SECTION 1. THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS HEREBY ORDAINS, That Sections 10-501, 10-502, 10-511 of the Code of the City of New Orleans are hereby amended and reordained to read as follows:
"Sec. 10-501. - Rates of tax on beverages of high alcoholic content.
Excise or license taxes are imposed upon dealers of alcoholic beverages referred to in this article at the following prices and rates:
(1) Liquors and sparkling wines at the rate of $0.40 per standard wine gallon or fraction thereof.
(2) Still wines having an alcoholic content of 14 to 24 percent volume, at the rate of $0.10 per standard wine gallon or fraction thereof.
(3) Still wines having an alcoholic content of under 14 percent by volume, at the rate of $0.05 per standard wine gallon.
(4) Barrels containing not over 50 gallons for still wines containing 14 to 24 percent of alcohol by volume, at the rate of $0.10 per standard wine gallon in such containers.
(5) Kegs containing not over five gallons and still wines containing 14 to 24 percent alcohol by volume, at the rate of $0.10 per standard wine gallon in such containers.
(6) Barrels containing still wines having under 14 percent of alcohol by volume, at the rate of $0.05 per standard wine gallon in such containers.
(7) Kegs containing not over five gallons of still wines having under 14 percent of alcohol by volume, at the rate of $0.05 per standard wine gallon in such containers.
(8) Barrel, keg or bottle for still wines having an alcoholic content in excess of 24 percent by volume, at the rate of $0.40 per standard wine gallon.
(9) Beer, ale, stout, lager beer, porter and the like, together with any other beverages of high alcoholic content up to 24 percent of alcohol by volume shall take the same rate of tax as provided for in subsections (1) to (8) in this section.
Sec. 10-502. - Additional tax on beverages of low alcoholic content.
In addition to all license taxes presently imposed, or permitted to be imposed, there is hereby levied a tax on dealers of all beverages of low alcoholic content, of $1.50 per standard 31-gallon barrel, or at a like rate of any other quantity or fractional parts of such beverages sold and consumed within the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.