Judge Nips Impending Big Apple Big Soda Ban in Bud

Regulations "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences"

NEW YORK -- A state judge on Monday stopped Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration from banning the sale of large sugary drinks at New York City restaurants and other venues, a major defeat for a mayor who has made public-health initiatives a cornerstone of his tenure, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The city is "enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations," New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling decided Monday, according to the newspaper.

The regulations are "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences," the judge wrote. "The simple reading of the rule leads to the earlier acknowledged uneven enforcement even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole. … The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of the rule."

See File Attachments below for the full ruling.

Beginning March 12, the city was set to prohibit restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums and arenas from selling sugary drinks in cups or containers larger than 16 ounces. Fines assessed against sellers for violations of the rules would have been enforced starting in mid-June.

The city rules did not include convenience stores and supermarkets, both of which are regulated by the state government.

"The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban. With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of New York City," the American Beverage Association (ABA) said in a statement.

In a speech reacting to the decision, Bloomberg said that he is "confident that [the] decision will ultimately be reversed."