Appellate Court judges hear arguments in soda ban case

A 20 oz. soda, or Texas-sized drink, at

A 20 oz. soda, or Texas-sized drink, at Dallas BBQ could no longer be served. (Nancy Borowick) (Credit: A 20 oz. soda, or Texas-sized drink, at Dallas BBQ could no longer be served. (Nancy Borowick))

Appealing a ruling that nixed the supersized soda ban, city lawyers duked it out in court Tuesday with a coalition of businesses that oppose the controversial plan.

The attorneys for the city argued before four state appellate judges, contending the health department had the legal mandate to enact the law.

"This has been settled in decades of case law that shows the department has the authority," said Fay Ng, the senior counsel.

Under the plan -- which was approved in September but struck down by a judge in March -- any location that receives a letter grade from the health department would be barred from serving sugary drinks in containers greater than 16 ounces.

In March, Judge Milton Tingling sided with the American Beverage Association and other groups that sued the city.

One of the judges questioned Ng on whether the health department was overstepping its bounds by focusing on sodas in its fight against obesity.

Ng argued that it was no different from past bans without precedent.

"There may not be [judicial precedent] just like when the board of health banned lead paint ... or had calorie counts," she said.

Rick Bress, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the health department did not factor in the needs of small businesses that would be hurt by the ban.

There is no set date as to when the appellate court will make its decision.

Tags: NEWS , soda ban , health department , michael bloomberg , Ivan Pereira , ARTICLE , AMNY , HOLD

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