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Healthy SF Goes to Court Tomorrow, Also Called "Onerous"

Teary shutter signage to the extreme.

Well, that didn't take long did it? Following its last day of service on Sunday, Palmetto became the first local restaurant to blame its closure on the Healthy San Francisco ordinance, citing "onerous mandated healthcare premiums imposed by the City." For those concerned: a four percent service charge was present on Palmetto menus until the end.

But the bigger news is that the long-awaited Healthy SF hearing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will take place tomorrow morning at 11am. As the City of San Francisco (pro-health care) squares off against the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (anti) in a landmark case, the special panel of three circuit judges is expected to take arguments from both sides. According to sources, no immediate ruling is expected to go down tomorrow; nonetheless, it's a good time to recap the situation.

The following media advisory arrived in the Eater Inbox from the GGRA side of the controversy, so do consider the source when parsing through it. Even though we're no legal experts, the release does, however, seem to present a fairly objective and succinct recap in preparation for tomorrow's big hearing:

SAN FRANCISCO (April 16, 2008) -- City Attorney Dennis Herrera will continue his office's legal defense of San Francisco's landmark universal health care ordinance before a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing tomorrow morning in Pasadena, Calif. The Golden Gate Restaurant Association challenged a provision of the ordinance requiring employers with twenty or more workers to offer health coverage or pay a fee to support the City's program, called "Healthy San Francisco." On Dec. 26, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White struck down the provision, holding that it was preempted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA. Herrera appealed White's ruling to a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, winning an emergency stay on Jan. 9 that enabled the City to begin enforcing the employer spending requirement. The same motions panel that granted the emergency stay and expedited appeal -- Senior Circuit Judge Alfred T. Goodwin and Circuit Judges Stephen Reinhardt and William A. Fletcher -- will hear the merits of Herrera's appeal of the district court ruling Thursday.

What: Hearing on the merits of San Francisco's appeal in Golden Gate Restaurant Association v. City and County of San Francisco et al.

Who: * Senior Circuit Judge Alfred T. Goodwin
* Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt
* Circuit Judge William A. Fletcher
* Deputy City Attorney Vince Chhabria will argue for the City

When: Thursday morning, April 17, 2008 at 11:00 a.m.

Where: U.S. Court of Appeals, Courtroom 3
125 South Grand Avenue
Pasadena, California 91105
Phone: (626) 229-7250

· Breaking Health Care Wire [~ESF~]
· IndustryWire: LA Times Confronts SF Health Care Issue [~ESF~]
· IndustryWire: Supreme Court Enters Health Care Fray [~ESF~]

Health care supporters and detractors, experts and locals, diners and industry folk: your thoughts on the matter are always welcome, in the comments below or straight to us.