Judge denies motion to dismiss Baltimore food truck lawsuit

A lawsuit challenging Baltimore's food truck buffer rule will move forward.

A lawsuit challenging the city's 300-foot buffer rule for food trucks will move forward after a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge on Thursday denied the city’s motion to dismiss the suit. 

Represented by the Arlington, Va.-based firm the Institute for Justice, Joey Vanoni and Nikki McGowans — owners of the Pizza di Joey and Madame BBQ food trucks, respectively — filed a suit in May alleging that the rule violates their constitutional rights. Under the city's regulations, food trucks and other mobile vendors cannot opperate within 300 feet of businesses that sell similar products.

The city requested to dismiss their case, but on Thursday, Associate Judge Cynthia Jones found that Vanoni and McGowans’ complaint “states a valid claim for relief.” 

Under the law, vendors in violation of the current 300-foot rule are subject to a $500 fine. Vanoni and McGowans argue the rule is in place to protect existing brick-and-mortar businesses from competition, and has made running their businesses impossible. 

“It is stifling Baltimore’s food truck industry,” the Institute for Justice’s Gregory Reed told The Baltimore Sun in May.

A date for a trial has not yet been set.

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