Description: Challenge to a City of Berkeley ordinance banning natural gas infrastructure in new buildings.
California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/06/2021 Order Download Federal preemption cause of action dismissed with prejudice and remaining state law claims dismissed without prejudice. Federal Court Rejected Federal Preemption Challenge to Berkeley Natural Gas Ban. The federal district court for the Northern District of California ruled that a restaurant trade association failed to state a claim that the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) preempted the City of Berkeley’s ordinance prohibiting natural gas infrastructure in new construction. The court rejected Berkeley’s jurisdictional grounds for dismissal (standing and ripeness) but found that the association failed to demonstrate that EPCA expressly preempted Berkeley’s ordinance because the ordinance “does not directly regulate either energy use or energy efficiency of covered appliances.” The court further found that EPCA’s legislative history did not support the plaintiff’s “expansive interpretation.” The court also noted that states and localities “expressly maintain control over the local distribution of natural gas under related federal statutes” such as the Natural Gas Act. The court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s state law claims and dismissed them without prejudice. Sabin Center Senior Fellow Amy Turner discussed the court’s decision in a post on the Climate Law Blog. 10/27/2020 Reply Download Reply filed in support of motion to dismiss. 10/20/2020 Amicus Motion Download Motion filed for leave to file brief of proposed amici curiae National Association of Home Builders et al. 10/13/2020 Opposition Download Opposition filed to motion to dismiss. 09/14/2020 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss first amended complaint filed. 08/14/2020 Complaint Download First amended complaint filed. 08/11/2020 Order Download Request to allow Berkeley to conduct early discovery of California Restaurant Association members denied. 07/22/2020 Order Download Motion to dismiss granted in part and denied without prejudice in part and leave to amend granted. In Challenge to Berkeley Natural Gas Ordinance, Federal Court Said Restaurant Association Needed to Improve Complaint. The federal district court for the Northern District of California granted in part the City of Berkeley’s motion to dismiss a challenge to its ban on natural gas infrastructure in new buildings. The court granted the motion on ripeness and standing grounds, but granted the California Restaurant Association leave to file an amended complaint by August 14, 2020 to add allegations to address the grounds for dismissal. The court also indicated during a hearing that the California Restaurant Association should do “a better job” of laying out its federal preemption argument. The court denied Berkeley’s motion to dismiss on the remaining grounds but said Berkeley could raise them again in response to the amended complaint. 04/03/2020 Response Download Response filed by City of Berkeley to surreply to motion to dismiss. 03/27/2020 Sur-Reply Download Surreply filed by California Restaurant Association on defendant's motion to dismiss on the issue of two new exhibits. 02/24/2020 Reply Download Reply filed in support of motion to dismiss. 02/10/2020 Opposition Download Opposition filed to motion to dismiss. 02/10/2020 Opposition Download Opposition filed by California Restaurant Association to request for judicial notice. 01/13/2020 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed. Berkeley Moved to Dismiss Restaurant Association’s Challenge to Its Natural Gas Ordinance. The City of Berkeley moved to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the City’s ordinance that instituted a progressive ban on natural gas connections in new buildings. The City argued that there was no subject matter jurisdiction, that the California Restaurant Association lacked standing to bring the suit, that the suit was unripe, and that state law claims were barred by the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. In addition, Berkeley argued that the complaint failed to state a claim that the Energy Policy and Conservation Act preempted the ordinance. Berkeley also contended that the case should be dismissed because state law did not preempt the ordinance and the ordinance did not conflict with state energy efficiency standards. 11/21/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Restaurant Industry Group Challenged Berkeley Ban on Natural Gas Infrastructure in New Buildings. An association representing the restaurant industry in California challenged the City of Berkeley’s ordinance banning natural gas infrastructure in new buildings beginning on January 1, 2020. The plaintiff asserted that both federal law (the Energy Policy and Conservation Act) and state law (the California Building Standards Code and the California Energy Code) preempted the ordinance. The plaintiff alleged that “[w]ith millions of Californians sitting in the dark to avoid wildfires, and California’s energy grid under historic strain, banning the use of natural gas is irresponsible and does little to advance climate goals.”