SAN FRANCISCO—A group of plaintiffs including an owner of a San Francisco accessory store filed a suit which requires to halt California’s ban on selling alligator leather products. Chief District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller of California’s Eastern District pronounced on October 15 that California’s ban on selling alligator products cannot be enforced while various legal challenges remain in court. 

The state of Louisiana and companies in California, Florida and Texas filed a suit that California’s ban on import and sale of alligator products will hurt an important industry and ultimately could hurt alligator and crocodile populations. Béatrice Amblard, owner of a luxury goods store in San Francisco’s Richmond District “April In Paris,” joined the plaintiffs in December 2019, according to the CBS San Francisco.

On Wednesday, October 15, Chief District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller ruled that California’s ban on selling alligator products probably violates federal laws and the state cannot enforce it while other legal challenges make their ways through the court.

“We are encouraged by the court’s decision. We know this is the first step and not the last,” chair of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Bill Hogan said to the Associated Press.

Mueller wrote that “Louisiana and the other plaintiffs made a strong showing that federal law, including the Endangered Species Act, controls trade in those products and preempts California from barring trade in them.” She rejected California’s argument that it was only regulating trade within the state, since its law allows crocodile products made from the Nile and saltwater to be sold under an international conservation treaty and U.S. laws.

Muller wrote that California’s arguments were based on “ability to enforce their policy goals,” while challengers showed “a likelihood of serious and far-reaching harm to their businesses and the managed conservation scheme they describe.” She considers that the trial is now “in favor of the plaintiffs.”