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Court Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging D.C. Cigar Wrapper Ban

Last year, we reported that National Tobacco Company (“NTC”), the nation’s fourth-largest producer of roll-your-own tobacco products, had filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of the city’s ban on cigar wrappers. In the lawsuit, NTC sought a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the law.

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia had denied NTC’s motion for preliminary injunction, but also denied the District of Columbia’s motion to dismiss.  However, in a ruling last month, the court found that NTC lacked standing to challenge the law.  The city had claimed that because NTC was not a retailer and therefore did not sell directly to consumers, it lacked standing because it was not directly harmed by enforcement of the law.  NTC claimed that it did have standing to sue, based on the law’s impact to downstream retailers and consumers.

The court did not issue a written opinion reflecting its ruling, but issued the decision during a hearing on June 25th.

For questions and/or comments, please contact Bryan Haynes, Troutman Sanders Tobacco practice partner, at 804.697.1420 or by email.

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