Florida Supreme Court declines to hear Coral Gables preemption case

On February 12, the Florida Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the City of Coral Gables of a ruling by the Third District Court of Appeal that upheld the state’s preemption of local bans on plastic packaging. Preemption occurs when law at a higher level of government is used to overrule authority at a lower level of government.

The city of Coral Gables banned the retail use of expanded polystyrene (plastic foam) in February 2016. In July 2016, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) filed a lawsuit against the city, and Judge Jorge Cueto of the Eleventh Circuit Court upheld the city’s polystyrene ban in February 2017.

On August 14, 2019, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the ruling, stating, “Because the trial court erred in finding [Florida Statutes sections 403.708(9), 403.7033, and 500.90] unconstitutional and concluding that the City’s Polystyrene Ordinance was not preempted, we reverse.” After the Third District Court denied the city’s motion to certify the question to the Florida Supreme Court, Coral Gables invoked the supreme court’s discretionary jurisdiction.

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Additional reading:
Preemption conflicts between state and local governments