United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
SARASOTA WINE MARKET, LLC d/b/a MAGNUM WINE AND TASTINGS, et al. Plaintiffs,
MICHAEL L. PARSON, et al. Defendants.
AMENDED OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court issues this Amended Opinion, Memorandum and Order to
address Plaintiffs' motion for relief from the original
Opinion, Memorandum, and Order on the grounds that the Court
should not have addressed Defendants' 12(b)(6) arguments
due to Plaintiffs' lack of standing, a threshold issue.
This Amended Opinion, Memorandum and Order supersedes this
Court's Opinion, Memorandum and Order dated June 15,
2018, which is hereby vacated and held for naught.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint under Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). A hearing was held on
April 9, 2018 and the Motion has been briefed and argued. For
the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is
brought this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
challenging the constitutionality of Missouri's Liquor
Control Law, Chapter 311 RSMo (“Liquor Control
many states, Missouri “funnels liquor sales through a
tier system, separating the distribution market into discrete
levels.” Southern Wine and Spirits of Am., Inc. v.
Division of Alc. & Tobacco Control, 731 F.3d 799,
802 (8th Cir. 2013). The first tier “consists of
producers, such as brewers, distillers, and
winemakers.” Id. The second tier “is
comprised of solicitors, who acquire alcohol from producers
and sell it ‘to, by or through' wholesalers.”
Id. The third tier “is made up of wholesalers,
who purchase alcohol from producers and solicitors and sell
it to retailers.” Id. The fourth tier - and
the tier at issue in this case - “consists of
retailers, who sell alcohol to consumers.” Id.
This multi-tiered system for controlling the distribution and
sale of alcohol to Missouri residents is permitted by the
Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution,
which grants states “virtually complete control over
whether to permit importation or sale of liquor and how to
structure the liquor distribution system.” Id.
(quoting California Retail Liquor Dealers Ass'n v.
Midcal Aluminum, Inc., 445 U.S.97, 110 (1980)).
implements its multi-tier system through its Liquor Control
Law. The Liquor Control Law prohibits “any person,
firm, partnership, or corporation” from selling
alcoholic beverages in Missouri “without taking a
license.” §311.050 RSMo. To obtain a license, an
applicant must demonstrate “good moral character”
and establish that he/she is “a qualified legal voter
and taxpaying citizen of the county, town, city or
village” to be served. § 311.060.1 RSMo. These
requirements apply to the managing officer of any corporation
seeking a license. Id.
Complaint alleges the following:
Michael Schlueter is a Missouri resident who would like to
purchase wine from out-of-state retailers and have it shipped
to his Missouri home. Plaintiff Sarasota Wine Market, LLC
d/b/a Magnum Wine and Tastings (“Magnum Wine”) is
a Florida Limited Liability Company that operates a retail
wine store in Sarasota, Florida. Magnum Wine would like to
sell, ship, and deliver wines directly to Missouri consumers.
Sarasota Wine maintains an internet site through which wine
orders may be placed. Plaintiff Heath Cordes is a Florida
resident who works as a professional wine consultant,
advisor, and merchant, and owns and operates Magnum Wine.
Cordes would like to practice his profession as a wine
merchant in Missouri by consulting with, obtaining wines for,
and delivering wines to Missouri residents. Defendants
Missouri Governor Michael Parson, Missouri Attorney General
Joshua Hawley, and Acting Supervisor of the Missouri
Department of Public Safety, Division of Alcohol &
Tobacco Control Keith Hendrickson are all sued in their
Complaint alleges that the portions of Missouri's Liquor
Control Law that allow in-state retailers to ship wine to
Missouri consumers while prohibiting out-of-state retailers
from doing the same is unconstitutional for two reasons.
First, Plaintiffs contend that the disparate treatment
between in-state and out-of-state retailers violates the
Commerce Clause and Supreme Court ruling in Granholm v.
Heald, 544 U.S. 460 (2005) because it discriminates
against out-of-state wine retailers engaged in interstate
commerce. Second, Plaintiffs claim that the disparate
treatment between residents and nonresidents violates the
Privileges and Immunities Clause because Missouri denies
non-resident wine merchants the privilege of engaging in
their occupation in Missouri on terms equivalent to those
given to citizens of Missouri. Plaintiffs seek declaratory
and injunctive relief in this matter.
move to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of standing and Rule
(12)(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. For their 12(b)(6) motion, Defendants contend
that the constitutional validity of Missouri's
multi-tiered approach to regulating liquor distribution and
sale has been upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
in Southern Wine, 731 F.3d 799.
a plaintiff lacks standing, the district court has no subject
matter jurisdiction.” Fabisch v. University of
Minn., 304 F.3d 797, 801 (8th Cir. 2002). Therefore,
motions to dismiss for lack of standing fall under the
purview of Rule 12(b)(1), which permits a party to move to
dismiss a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Id. “Motions to dismiss for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction can be decided in three ways: at
the pleading stage, like a Rule 12(b)(6) motion; on
undisputed facts, like a summary judgment motion; and on
disputed facts.” Jessie v. Potter, 516 F.3d
709, 712 (8th Cir. 2008). The parties do not rely on matters
outside the pleadings, therefore the Court reviews
Defendant's motion as a “facial attack” on
jurisdiction. In a facial attack, “the court restricts
itself to the face of the pleadings, and the non-moving party
receives the same protections as it would defending against a
motion under Rule 12(b)(6).” Carlsen v. GameStop,
Inc., 833 F.3d 903, 908 (8th Cir. 2016).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a claim
for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss,
“a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell AtlanticCorp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A
pleading that merely pleads labels and conclusions or a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ...