West Hollywood Retailer Sues City Over Fur Ban

The City of West Hollywood, Calif., became the first municipality in America to start enforcing a ban on the retail sale of fur on Sept. 21. Mayfair House, a store located at 8844 Beverly Blvd. in West Hollywood, challenged that ban by filing a lawsuit Sept. 26 in federal court.

The suit hopes that a court will declare the law violates the U.S. and California constitutions. It hopes that the ban will be overturned and that the city also will repay attorneys’ fees.

Mayfair House owner Johanna Judah said the ban violates the rights of West Hollywood businesses and residents. “This ban violates the very core values of freedom of choice for us and our customers that drew us to West Hollywood,” she said in a statement. Mayfair House sells fur products such as Canada Goose–label parkas with fur trim, as well as fur-lined footwear by Uggs.

Attorney Michael O’Connor, who represents Mayfair House, said the City Council overstepped its boundaries. “It is crystal clear that California’s Constitution grants the state legislature the only authority to enact legislation relating to the protection of wildlife, including the exclusive power to pass laws regulating the market for products of wildlife, such as fur,” he said. “As a result, the city was preempted from, and had no authority to, enact the ordinance.”

O’Connor is a senior litigator in the LA office of Kelley, Drye & Warren.

On Sept. 26, the city of West Hollywood issued a statement about the complaint:

“The city attorney’s office is reviewing the complaint (which it just received late this afternoon) and is not prepared to comment on the specific details in the lawsuit at this time. The city adopted the ordinance banning the sale of fur apparel products because the sale of these products in the city of West Hollywood is inconsistent with the city’s reputation as a Cruelty Free Zone for animals and the city’s goal of being a community that cares about animal welfare. The city’s position is that the ordinance is a constitutional means to further that goal.”