NEW YORK CITY -- New York City's lawyers have filed an appeal of the decision against Mayor Michael Bloomberg's first-in-the-nation citywide ban of large sugary drinks. The proposed ban, which Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling struck down on March 11 -- a day before it was set to take effect -- would restrict restaurants, movie theaters, delis, stadiums, concession stands and food carts from selling sugar-sweetened beverages in containers larger than 16 fl.oz.
The National Restaurant Association and American Beverage Association were the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit that challenged the ban.
In his decision, Justice Tingling said the proposed measure was "arbitrary and capricious" because it applied to some, but not all, foodservice establishments. It also exempted certain sweetened drinks, like milk-based coffee beverages, and permitted refills. The judge also stated that the New York City Board of Health had overstepped its authority in passing the ban.
In its brief appealing the decision, filed on April 1, the city defended the ban as a "measured response to a serious health crisis" and argued that its health board has the authority to take measures to protect public health. The city also argued that the judge made "critical" errors in ruling that the ban was "arbitrary and capricious" and that the health board should be allowed to take an incremental approach to regulation rather than be forced to seek a sweeping, all-inclusive ban.
More than 30 health and minority groups have also signed two amicus briefs filed in support of the city's position, led by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and the National Association of Local Boards of Health. The plaintiffs are slated to file a reply this month.