In June, we reported that National Tobacco Company (“NTC”), the nation’s fourth largest producer of roll-your-own tobacco products, including the popular Zig-Zag brand, had filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of the city’s statutory ban on cigar wrappers. In the lawsuit, NTC sought a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the law. The District filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, claiming NTC lacked standing, and for failure to state a claim.

Last week, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied NTC’s motion for preliminary injunction, but ruled that NTC had standing and could proceed against the District on its claim that the statute violates the due process clause. The court, however, dismissed NTC’s claims that the statute conflicts with federal law and violates the commerce and equal protection clauses. Although NTC survived the District’s motion to dismiss, the court hinted that NTC may not be so fortunate at future stages of the case, noting that NTC’s standing “allegations will likely be insufficient to satisfy NTC’s higher burden at summary judgment, and ultimately, trial.”

For questions and/or comments, please contact Bryan Haynes, at 804.697.1420 or by email.