Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Frankfort.
No. 3:20-cv-00029—Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, District Judge.
Argued: March 10, 2021
Decided and Filed: April 29, 2021
Before: BATCHELDER, MOORE, and BUSH, Circuit Judges.
KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, some
sought to capitalize on consumers’ fear and uncertainty by charging outrageous prices for hand
sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, masks, and other cleaning and protective products. In response, the
Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Attorney General, Daniel J. Cameron, announced that his office
would enforce the Commonwealth’s price-gouging laws against Kentucky businesses involved in
such schemes. True to his word, the Attorney General opened civil price-gouging investigations
into various Kentucky-based merchants, including at least one member of Plaintiff Online
Merchants Guild (the “Guild”) that was selling goods to Kentuckians through Amazon’s online
The Guild brought suit against Attorney General Cameron to challenge the
constitutionality of Kentucky’s price-gouging laws as applied to sellers on Amazon, invoking,
among other things, the extraterritoriality doctrine of the dormant commerce clause. Accepting
that the Attorney General sought only to enforce the Commonwealth’s price-gouging laws
against Kentucky-based sellers in connection with sales to Kentucky consumers through
Amazon’s platform, the district court nevertheless granted the Guild’s motion for a preliminary
injunction, concluding that enforcing the laws in connection with Amazon sales would have
impermissible extraterritorial effects. Because we conclude that the Attorney General’s
enforcement of Kentucky’s price-gouging laws in this fashion is unlikely to run afoul of the
dormant commerce clause’s extraterritoriality doctrine, we VACATE the preliminary injunction
and REMAND for further proceedings.