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Used Tire Int'l, Inc. v. Diaz-Saldana

Citation: 29 ELR 20130
(09/11/1998)

The court affirms a district court decision enjoining the enforcement of certain provisions of a statute for the handling and disposal of used tires in Puerto Rico. The court first holds that two provisions prohibiting and imposing a fine for persons selling or importing tires that do not have a specific minimum tread depth facially discriminates against interstate commerce. The language of the statute makes it clear that only those sellers of used tires who are also importers are the subject of the penalty provision. Sellers of locally generated tires are not subjected to the penalty. The court next holds that a bonding requirement in the statute also discriminates against interstate commerce. Plainly the bonding requirement imposes burdens, costs, and risks on importers of used tires not borne by sellers of locally generated used tires. The court further holds that although tire disposal contributes to the growing volume of solid wastes and to health and environmental problems, Puerto Rico's Secretary of Treasury failed to come forward with a showing that the three provisions advance a legitimate local purpose that cannot be adequately served by reasonable nondiscriminatory alternatives. Last, the court holds that a provision imposing a one-time charge on the importation of every tire, new or used, and a provision providing for distributions out of a tire handling fund are not discriminatory.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Sylvia Roger-Stefani, Ass't Solicitor General
Federal Litigation Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 192, San Juan PR 00902
(787) 721-7700

Counsel for Defendant
Joan S. Peters
Nachman, Santiago & Guillemard
San Jose Bldg.
1250 Ponce de Leon Ave., Ste. 903, San Juan PR 00908
(787) 724-1212

Before Selya and Boudin, JJ.