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Bowie Inn, Inc. v. Bowie, City of

Citation: 2 ELR 20056
No. No. D-5305, 3 ERC 1502/(Md. Cir. Ct., 12/17/1971)

An ordinance passed by the city of Bowie requires a deposit of at least 5 cents to be paid on all soft drink and malt beverage containers sold in the city. The City Manager is empowered to enter stores to inspect for violations. The plaintiffs, soft drink bottling companies and liquor retailers, challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance. The court held that the ordinance, which had as one of its purposes combating litter, was within the delegated authority of a city council to enact. The City Manager's power to inspect, although stated in the ordinance to be universal, was limited to retail sellers of such beverages located within the city limits. The state's statutory authority to control deposits charged by manufacturers and wholesalers of beer on returnable containers does not conflict with this ordinance, nor has the state preempted the control of matters relating to alcoholic beverages. The ordinance adopts a reasonable classification, since the council could find that a certain class of litter was capable of being controlled by this deposit arrangement. The possible additional inconveniences to the retailers caused by this ordinance do not rise to the dignity of a burden on interstate commerce. Motion for summary judgment for the defendant city granted.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Henry Leonnig
Sachs and Baron
1605 Mercantile Bank and Trust Bldg.
2 Hopkins Plaza
Baltimore, Maryland

Daniel I. Sherry
6796 Laurel-Bowie Road
Bowie, Maryland 20715

Counsel for Defendants
Daniel E. Sharpe
Walter G. Lohr, Jr.
Piper & Marbury
900 First National Bank Bldg.
Light and Redwood Streets
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

John E. Bryson
Natural Resources Defense Council
1600 20th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036