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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York State Court of Appeals agreed yesterday to hear New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appeal of a decision striking down a citywide ban on large sugary drinks, Reuters reported. It did not give a reason for agreeing to hear the appeal.
The ban would have prevented businesses regulated by the city's health department, such as restaurants, movie theaters and food carts, from selling sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces. It would not have applied to convenience stores or supermarkets. Bloomberg launched the ban as part of his administration's efforts to improve New Yorkers' eating habits and combat obesity.
Companies such as The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group argued that the ban would impose unnecessary costs while doing little to lessen obesity. Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling struck down the law last March, one day before it was set to take effect, citing loopholes in the ban that "effectively defeat[ed]" its stated purpose. A four-judge panel at the First Department of the State Supreme Court's Appellate Division upheld that ruling in July.
Bloomberg expressed confidence following the court's agreement to hear the appeal, stating that the ban "would help save lives, and we are confident the Appeals court will uphold the [New York City] Board of Health's rule."
Lawyers arguing for the ban had claimed that the lower appeals court ignored decades of case law that established the health board's unique powers to regulate public health, according to the report. "[The Court of Appeals] has long recognized that the Board of Health is not a typical administrative agency, but rather, is an entity with legislative authority," wrote city lawyer Fay Ng.
A spokesperson for the American Beverage Association, the lead plaintiff in the case, stated that the organization looked forward to a final decision on the ban.