UEP files price gouging amicus brief

December 10, 2020

During its October 15 meeting, the UEP Board voted to file an amicus brief pertaining to a price-gouging lawsuit in Kentucky.  UEP Counsel Chris Ondeck led a team of members and lawyers to write a brief that explained the significance of the case to UEP’s membership.

On November 23, the brief was filed in the Online Merchants Guild v. Cameron, Case No. 20-5723. The Sixth Circuit will be the first federal appellate court to consider the validity of the continued application of state price-gouging laws triggered by emergency declarations related to the COVID-19 pandemic over eight months ago.

UEP’s amicus brief explains the undue burdens that the prolonged application of over 40 separate state price gouging laws and orders during the pandemic has had on both the egg industry and downstream consumers, and why the continued application of such laws to the egg industry violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The brief describes the unprecedented hardships that egg producers have faced during the pandemic, as well as the extraordinary efforts they have made to get eggs to the retail market (from working with the FDA to route eggs previously destined for sale to the food industry into grocery stores, to hiring additional workers and adopting strict COVID-19 safety measures, to selling at a loss, and more).  Also included is information about the additional burdens that complying with a patchwork of state price gouging laws has imposed on the egg industry at a time when the industry is working hard to stay afloat and ensure the nationwide egg supply.