January 24, 2019

Victory for Chef Geoff in happy hour fight

Tysons Corner, Virginia; January 24, 2019: Virginia restaurants may be able to advertise prices and puns in their happy hour specials. In direct response to a lawsuit filed by Chef Geoff Tracy, both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly passed bills yesterday that would eliminate restrictions on happy hour advertising.

The bills passed the House of Delegates and the Senate by wide margins, and the legislation is likely to proceed to Governor Northam’s desk.

“If these are signed into law it will be huge for my business,” said Tracy, who operates restaurants in Tysons Corner, Virginia; the District of Columbia; and Maryland. “Now I can actually have some fun in advertising my happy hours, and I can tell people the price of happy-hour pinot before they get to my restaurant.”

Represented free of charge by Pacific Legal Foundation, Chef Geoff filed a lawsuit in March challenging the Virginia ABC’s heavy restrictions on advertising happy hours.

“For the last year, the attorney general’s office has tried to bully me into giving up my fight to speak to my customers,” Tracy said. “Everyone knew that the restrictions were unnecessary. The Virginia ABC even testified in support of this legislation! So ultimately they were speaking out of both sides of their mouth and wasting a lot of taxpayer money.”

“The legislation vindicates Chef Geoff’s right to speak truthfully and creatively to Virginia consumers and to empower them with the information they need to make wise economic choices,” Tracy’s attorney, Anastasia Boden, said. “The government shouldn’t be able to censor truthful, non-misleading speech simply because it thinks censorship is good for you. It can’t hide information from the public merely because it’s afraid of what you might do with it. The right to share that information is protected by the First Amendment.”

More information about Chef Geoff’s case is available at pacificlegal.org/chefgeoff.


About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 39 states plus Washington D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 11 victories out of 13 cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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