Thursday, May 25, 2006

Louisiana Catfish Statute and Use of the Term Cajun Interpreted

Piazza's Seafood World v. Odom, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 11188 (5th Cir. 2006)

In this case, the court considered the constitutionality of a statute that regulated the labeling of catfish and one that regulates the use of the word "Cajun" on food products. Piazza imports seafood and sells it using the word Cajun in its brands.

In the district court, the Louisiana Commisioner of Agriculture was enjoined from enforcing the statutes. The court found that the Catfish Statute, La. Rev. Stat. sec. 3:4617(c) was preempted by 21 U.S.C. secs 321d and 343(t). The court also found that the statute regulating the use of the term Cajun violated the first Amendment.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that the Catfish Statute violated the dormant commerce clause in that it improperly discriminated against foreign commerce in favor of local interests because it was protectionist. The Court of Appeals also affirmed the district court's finding that the Cajun Statute violated the 1st amendment as to Piazza's use of the term under the test announced in Central Hudson Gas v. Public Service Commission, 447 U.S. 557 (1980).


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