"Legal action was widely anticipated from the soft-drink industry, which led an aggressive campaign this summer portraying [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg's plan as an affront to consumer freedom and has frequently opposed local regulations of its products.
The 61-page filing offers a detailed rebuttal to Mr. Bloomberg, arguing the soda restrictions are a form of de facto legislation, enacted by "executive fiat," which should have been considered by the City Council. The plaintiffs say the rules represent "a dramatic departure" from the traditional role of the health department, and they are asking a judge to reject the size limits before they are put into effect.
The mayor's chief spokesman, Marc La Vorgna, rejected those arguments on Friday, calling the lawsuit "baseless." City health officials have argued that the plan can help curb runaway obesity rates in the city, where more than half of adults are overweight or obese.
"The Board of Health absolutely has the authority to regulate matters affecting health, and the obesity crisis killing nearly 6,000 New Yorkers a year — and impacting the lives of thousands more — unquestionably falls under its purview," Mr. La Vorgna wrote in a statement."
Image: Soda bottles, via Shutterstock