New York big-soda ban rejected by court as overreach

06/26/2014 8:43 AM

06/26/2014 8:43 AM

New York’s ban on oversize sodas was an overreach by the city’s health board, the state’s highest court ruled.

The board’s rulemaking infringed on power reserved for the New York City Council, the state Court of Appeals held today.

The city sought to revive the rule proposed by Michael Bloomberg when he was mayor after it was struck down by a lower court following lawsuits from trade groups whose members include Coca-Cola Co. The decision by the Court of Appeals ends the case.

Bloomberg pushed for the portion cap on soft-drink sizes starting in 2012 as part of his focus on public health.

Soda consumption has declined during the past nine years as consumers turned to a growing number of healthy choices.

The American Beverage Association, whose members include Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State and other groups sued a month later, saying the rule interfered with consumers’ ability to make their own choices.

A day before the rule was set to take effect in March 2013, New York State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling issued an order permanently blocking it. He said it was “arbitrary and capricious” because it excludes certain businesses, such as convenience stores, that are regulated by the state and doesn’t apply to other beverages with high concentrations of sugar and calories, like fruit juices.

An appeals court in Manhattan upheld Tingling’s ruling in July, saying the Board of Health, a panel of experts that oversees the city’s health code, exceeded its authority in approving the restrictions.

Bloomberg is the majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

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