March 18, 2016

Ruling on Seattle Law Poses Big Threat to Small Businesses

Rebekah Prince and Kanysha Burton, Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Challengers of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance were dealt a second blow in September 2015, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected their arguments that the law’s classification of franchisees violates the Dormant Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment, the Lanham Act, and the Washington State Constitution.

The International Franchise Association (IFA) and a handful of local Seattle franchisees sued the City of Seattle seeking to enjoin enforcement of the ordinance, but their motion was denied for failure to show a likelihood of success on the merits. Int’l Franchise Ass’n, Inc. v. City of Seattle, 2015 WL 1221490 at *5-23 (W.D. Wash Mar. 17, 2015). See also Paul D. Clement and H. Christopher Bartolomucci, IFA, Seattle Franchisees Seek to Enjoin Minimum Wage Law, The Franchise Lawyer, Winter 2015.

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