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Dec. 5, 2011: Gordon v Eric Holder

A federal judge in Washington on Monday blocked enforcement of a provision in a new cigarette trafficking law that required remote sellers of tobacco products to pay state and local taxes in advance of a sale. Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of Washington federal district court granted a preliminary injunction staying enforcement of the tax provision in the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act. Click here for the ruling. The judge said the provision may violate due process rights because it subjects a nonresident of a state to certain taxes regardless of the person’s contact with the jurisdiction. The lead plaintiff, Robert Gordon of New York, sold cigarettes and tobacco products online, proclaiming that he passed on discounts to consumers because he did not pay state taxes. Represented by Baker Botts, Gordon sued the government in June 2010 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Since then, Gordon has only sold tobacco products in a brick-and-mortar store in upstate New York and via telephone orders. Lamberth on Monday upheld the law’s ban on shipping tobacco products through the U.S. mail.

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