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Monday, April 7, 2014

Food Truck Loses Equal Protection Lawsuit

The City of Monroe, Michigan had enacted an ordinance in 2009 that required street vendors, including food trucks, to obtain permission from the City Council to operate within certain areas, including downtown Monroe.  The ordinance also restricted vendors from operating in any one place for more than 10 minutes.  The Dog Pound, a hot dog vendor, applied for and was denied a license and sued the City, claiming that the ordinance violated its constitutional due process and equal protection rights. Specifically, the Dog Pound argued that the ordinance treated food truck merchants different from traditional restaurants. 

While the lawsuit was proceeding, the City amended its ordinance to eliminate the 10 minute restriction.  The district court ruled in favor of the City, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.  First, the court held that the Dog Pound failed to show that food trucks and restaurants were "similarly situated" to meet the equal protection test.  The court also rejected the Dog Pound's due process claim, finding it had waived that argument. The Dog Pound LLC v. City of Monroe, No 12-2692 (6th Cir. Mar. 10, 2014). 


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