“Grains of Paradise” Lawsuit Dismissed
A Florida federal court has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Bacardi U.S.A.’s Bombay Sapphire contains a botanical classified as an adulterant in the state. Marrache v. Bacardi U.S.A., No. 19-23856 (S.D. Fla., entered January 28, 2020).
“Numerous class actions have greatly benefited society, such as Brown v. Board of Education, In re Exxon Valdez, and In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation,” the court’s decision began. “This is not one of those class actions.” The plaintiff “does not allege that the bottle of gin he bought containing grains of paradise caused him any health issues or other harm,” the court noted. “He instead alleges that the product was ‘worthless’ because it was adulterated with grains of paradise.”
The court found that the 1868 Florida law prohibiting grains of paradise in alcohol was preempted by federal regulations finding that the botanical is generally regarded as safe. The plaintiff argued that the 21st Amendment granted states the right to regulate liquor, but the court disagreed, finding that the Supreme Court has stated that the amendment “does not in any way diminish the force of the Supremacy Clause.” The court dismissed the complaint without leave to amend.