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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In 2002, Congress passed legislation limited the class of fish sold in interstate commerce that could be labeled as “catfish.” Prompted by increased sales of a Vietnamese species of catfish, the legislation was intended to protect the American catfish industry by allowing only fish from the native-American family Ictaluridae to be called “catfish.” Upon discovering that overseas companies were raising fish from the Ictaluridae family and then selling it to U.S. markets, Louisiana then passed legislation that said only Ictaluridae fish grown in the United States could be called “catfish” on product labels. Louisiana-based Piazza’s Seafood World began the wholesale selling of seafood 50 years ago. Thirty years ago, it began marketing some of its products under the trade names “Cajun Boy” and “Cajun Delight.” Most of its products are sold to institutional buyers and restaurants, though a small percentage of products are sold to grocery stores for resale to the public. One of Piazza’s products sells is Cajun Boy-brand catfish. The fish is from the family Ictaluridae, but it is imported from China. Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Bob Odom ordered several of Piazza’s customers not to sell any of Piazza’s products because the labels’ reference to “catfish” violated the Louisiana Catfish Statute, even though the labels also stated that the fish were from China. Piazza filed for an injunction against Odom to prevent him from enforcing the Catfish Statute, saying it was unconstitutional under the Commerce and Equal Protection Clauses. The district court granted the injunction, noting that federal law preempted the Catfish Statute. In the meantime, the Louisiana legislature also repealed the “grandfather clause” in the state’s “Cajun Statute,” which limited use of the word “Cajun” in product names. Without the grandfather clause, all of Piazza’s products fell into violation of the Cajun Statute. Piazza sought a second injunction against Odom, which the district court granted, finding that the statute, as applied, violated the First Amendment. Odom now appeals. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court first notes that although the commerce clause speaks only of Congressional power, it has long been understood that there is a dormant or negative aspect of the commerce clause that limits the power of the states to regulate commerce. State laws violate the dormant commerce clause by discriminating against or unduly burdening foreign or interstate commerce. The court next notes that in the context of the interstate commerce clause, if a state regulation is found to be nondiscriminatory, a court examines “the nature of the local interest and whether alternative means could achieve that interest with less impact on interstate commerce.” In the context of a foreign commerce clause, however, even a nondiscriminatory state rule that affects foreign commerce is invalid if it creates a substantial risk of conflict with foreign governments or undermines the ability of the federal government to “speak with one voice” in regulating commercial affairs with foreign states. The court rejects Odom’s sole focus on the interstate commerce clause. The problem with the Catfish Statute, the court points out, is not that it discriminates against interstate commerce, but that it discriminates against foreign commerce. The discrimination is apparent from the face of the statute because it treats domestic catfish different from and better than foreign catfish. The court acknowledges that Congress will allow states to pass laws affecting commerce that are more strict that federal law, but the court also states that for that to happen, Congress’ intent must be expressly stated. No such express statement exists in this case, and without that statement, the law cannot be saved by showing it is consistent with the purposes behind a federal law. The court next examines the Cajun Statute. The court agrees with the district court’s findings: 1. that Piazza’s use of the Cajun Boy and Cajun Delight trade names was only potentially misleading, not actually or inherently misleading, because Piazza largely sells its products to wholesalers and it labels its products with their country of origin; and 2. that Louisiana’s interest in protecting Louisianans from misleading and deceptive uses of trade names was substantial. The court further agrees with the district court that the state’s interest in protecting Louisianans from deception was not enhanced by application of the state statute to Piazza because there was no deception present to be prevented; and, the statute was more extensive than necessary when applied to Piazza. OPINION:DeMoss, J.; Higginbotham, DeMoss and Owen, J.J. CONCURRENCE:Higginbotham, J. “I agree that the Louisiana Statute discriminates against foreign commerce. As was the district court, however, I am persuaded that the preferable approach is to draw upon preemption doctrine.”

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