Total Wine & More’s lawsuit regarding Connecticut’s mandatory minimum pricing laws has been dismissed by a federal judge, who ruled that federal antitrust laws do not supersede the state law establishing the liquor pricing system.
“The court can only be asked to determine whether the challenged provisions are pre-empted by federal law,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Janet C. Hall. “Arguments as to the harm inflicted on consumers by this scheme are more appropriately directed to Connecticut’s executive and legislative branches of government.”
In August, the Hartford-based chain, which operates a store in Norwalk, sued the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and the Division of Liquor Control, stating that the mandatory minimum pricing statute represented “price-fixing by wholesalers and retailers (that) constitutes restraint of trade and a violation of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act.”
In response to the ruling, Total Wine & More Co-owner David Trone released a statement saying: “The fact remains that this is a bad law for Connecticut’s consumers that allows consumers in the state to be overcharged for alcohol. Total Wine & More will not stop fighting the package store cartel that rips off all Connecticut consumers. We will work diligently on behalf of consumers to ensure that this pricing scheme in Connecticut does not continue.”