February 22, 2022

Coalition Lead by Restaurant Law Center Files Amici Curiae in Supreme Court ERISA Case

Case Challenges City of Seattle mandate for certain businesses to provide certain level of health insurance
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Restaurant Law Center filed an amici curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the certiorari petition in ERISA Industry Committee v. City of Seattle. The brief was cosigned by National Federation of Independent Business - Small Business Legal Center (NFIB-SBLC), National Retail Federation (NRF), International Franchise Association (IFA), and Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA).

The case challenges the City of Seattle’s mandate forcing some hotels—and ancillary businesses like restaurants within these hotels—to provide a certain level of health insurance. The brief argues this mandate violates, and is preempted by, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

As the brief states, "It is critical that this Court recognize the potentially far-reaching consequences of this case. As businesses across the economic spectrum continue to address the unprecedented financial and operational challenges related to a pandemic, the mandates at issue could impact not only large national chains but also local independent operators and small, family-run companies that operate a range of businesses adjacent to large hotels."

“In adopting ERISA, Congress sought to create a national, uniform system for regulating employee benefit plans,” said Angelo Amador, Executive Director of the Restaurant Law Center. “Seattle’s ordinance obligations are particularly problematic in light of the toll the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions have taken on a wide variety of restaurant, hospitality, independent, retail, and franchise businesses. At a time when every level of government should be working to ease burdens on businesses for the benefit of their communities and employees, Seattle seeks to illegally add additional burdens that many businesses simply will be unable to bear. The U.S. Supreme Court should intervene and reverse the decision of the Ninth Circuit.”

Read the full brief here.

About the Restaurant Law Center 

The Restaurant Law Center (RLC) is an independent 501(c)(6). The Center's goal is to promote pro-business laws and regulations that allow restaurants to continue growing, creating jobs and contributing to a robust American economy. The RLC is the voice of America’s restaurants in the courtroom advancing the policy interests of the industry.