PRMA v. County of Alameda

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 09-30-2014
  • Case #: 13-16833
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Smith for the Court; Circuit Judge Christen and Senior District judge Piersol
  • Full Text Opinion

A County Ordinance does not violate the dormant Commerce Clause if the Ordinance caused no discrimination towards interstate commerce, the Ordinance’s effect was limited to only the boundaries of the county, and that the burden of the ordinance is not outweighed by the local benefits of the program.

The County of Alameda ("Alameda") enacted the Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance ('Ordinance") which requires any producer of prescription drugs who sells, offers to sell, or distributes brand name or generic drugs in Alameda County to collect and safely dispose any unwanted prescription drug, regardless of the manufacturer or the drug in question. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America ("PRMA"), a non-profit trade group, filed suit on the behalf of their members and claimed that Alameda’s Ordinance violated the dormant Commerce Clause in that the Ordinance requires for Alameda’s drug disposal program to be paid for by interstate drug manufacturers. Alameda moved for summary judgment and the district court granted the motion, whereby PRMA filed this appeal. If a state law or local ordinance discriminates towards or, through the language of the law, creates direct regulation of interstate commerce, the state law or local ordinance is in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause and must be struck down. The Ninth Circuit held that the Ordinance did not violate the dormant Commerce Clause in that the Ordinance caused no discrimination towards interstate commerce, the Ordinance’s effect was limited to only the boundaries of the county, and that the burden of the ordinance is not outweighed by the local benefits of the program. AFFIRMED.

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