Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Perfect Puppy, Inc. v. City of East Providence

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island

March 31, 2015

PERFECT PUPPY, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE, Defendant

Page 409

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 410

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 411

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 412

For Perfect Puppy, Inc., Plaintiff: Lesley S. Rich, LEAD ATTORNEY, Cranston, RI; Walter J. Manning, III, Law Offices of Walter J. Manning, III, ESQ, Warwick, RI.

For City of East Providence, Defendant: Timothy John Chapman, East Providence, RI; Marc DeSisto, DeSisto Law, Providence, RI.

For Ocean State Animal Coalition, Amicus: John B. Daukas, Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston, MA.

Page 413

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

William E. Smith, Chief United States District Judge.

Plaintiff, Perfect Puppy, Inc., a pet store, has brought a declaratory judgment action to invalidate an ordinance passed by Defendant, the City of East Providence (the " City" ). Before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion (ECF No. 11) is DENIED and Defendant's motion (ECF No. 10) GRANTED as to all counts in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (ECF No. 6) except Count Three, which is REMANDED to the Rhode Island Superior Court.[1]

I. Background

Plaintiff initially sued the City in Rhode Island Superior Court in June 2014, after which the City removed the case to this Court. The parties have stipulated to the relevant facts. (Agreed Stipulation of Facts (" Stip." ), ECF No. 9). Plaintiff entered into a lease on April 26, 2014, for a space in the City to be used " only for the purposes of a Puppy Sales store," according to the lease. (Id. at ¶ 3; Ex. B at ¶ 7.)

On May 20, 2014, an ordinance banning certain commercial transactions in dogs and cats was introduced and preliminarily passed by the East Providence City Council. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 4, 8.) The next day, on May 21, 2014, Plaintiff obtained its Rhode Island pet store license. (Id. at ¶ 5.) Plaintiff opened its store that day. (Id. at ¶ 6.) The City Council held a public hearing regarding the proposed ordinance on June 3, 2014, at which members of the public raised concerns about " puppy mills." (Id. at ¶ ¶ 7, 8.) The City Council passed the ordinance on that date. (Id. at ¶ 7.) It states, in relevant part:

(b) It is unlawful for any person to display, offer for sale, deliver, barter, auction, give away, transfer, or sell any live dog or cat in any pet store, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the City of East Providence.
(c) Nothing in this section shall prevent the owner, operator, or employees of a pet store, retail business, or other commercial establishment located in the City of East Providence from providing space and appropriate care for animals owned by a city animal shelter or animal control agency, humane society, or non-profit rescue organization and maintain those animals at the pet store retail business or other commercial establishment for the purpose of public adoption.

Revised Ordinances of the City of East Providence, Chapter 3, Article V., § 3-68. (Stip. Ex. A, ECF No. 9-1.)

In its Amended Complaint, Plaintiff raises numerous challenges to the ordinance under the Constitutions of the United

Page 414

States and of Rhode Island, claiming that it violates the dormant Commerce Clause, the Contract Clause, the Takings Clause, and Plaintiff's equal protection and due process rights, and that it is preempted by state statute. Plaintiff and Defendant both seek summary judgment as to all of these challenges.

II. Discussion

Summary judgment is appropriate when, viewing the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, there is no genuine dispute of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Taylor v. Am. Chemistry Council, 576 F.3d 16, 24 (1st Cir. 2009). The same legal standard applies when the parties file cross-motions for summary judgment. Adria Int'l Grp., Inc. v. Ferre Dev., Inc., 241 F.3d 103, 107 (1st Cir. 2001). " The court must rule on each party's motion on an individual and separate basis, determining, for each side, whether a judgment may be entered in accordance with the Rule 56 standard." Bienkowski v. Ne. Univ., 285 F.3d 138, 140 (1st Cir. 2002) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

Because the parties have agreed to the material facts, the Court must now determine whether either party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on these facts. Barnes v. Fleet Nat'l Bank, N.A., 370 F.3d 164, 170 (1st Cir. 2004).

A. Commerce Clause Claims

The " negative" or " dormant" aspect of the Commerce Clause " denies the states the power unjustifiably to discriminate against or burden the interstate flow of articles of commerce." Oregon Waste Sys., Inc. v. Dep't of Envt'l Quality, 511 U.S. 93, 98, 114 S.Ct. 1345, 128 L.Ed.2d 13 (1994). " A statute that discriminates on its face against interstate commerce, whether in purpose or effect, demands heightened scrutiny." Wine & Spirits Retailers, Inc. v. Rhode Island,481 F.3d 1, 10 (1st Cir. 2007) (citing Alliance of Auto. Mfrs. v. Gwadosky,430 F.3d 30, 35 (1st Cir. 2005)). A discriminatory statute is therefore invalid " unless it furthers a legitimate local objective ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.