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Albert Buzzetti & Associates, L.L.C.

Bakers sue New Jersey for right to open business from home

Business lawsuits can come up in the most unusual of ways. For example, one might think nothing of a mom trying to start her own home-based business selling baked goods. It may be her intention to start her business from home, and once she has raised enough revenue, move her operations to a brick-and-mortar shop. However, it may come as a surprise to some that New Jersey is the only state in the nation where it is against the law to sell cookies, cakes, muffins and other baked goods made at one's personal residence (although nonprofit bake sales are still legal).

The state justifies the law as needed to protect public health. If an entrepreneur wants to sell homemade baked goods, they have to have a licensed "retail food establishment" or a commercial kitchen outside of their own household kitchen. These are very expensive mandates for entrepreneurs who simply want to develop their own bakeries from the ground up.

In fact, one entrepreneur who was barred from selling her homemade cake pops, along with two other bakers has sued the state of New Jersey, claiming that the "cottage foods" ban goes against the state constitution's guarantee of the right to pursue and obtain happiness. It is hoped that lawsuits such as this one will lift the ban in New Jersey, allowing people who otherwise might not be able to open a brick-and-mortar shop, such as military spouses, the disabled and stay-at-home parents, to supplement their income.

People in New Jersey deserve the right to start up their own businesses. However, there can be roadblocks along the way, particularly with regard to state laws and regulations. In general, there are laws and regulations on the books that dictate what types of businesses can be opened where and how. Sometimes, a budding entrepreneur needs to obtain a license to operate their business or they may need to register their business with the state.

Opening a business is not as simple as hanging a sign on the front door of an establishment saying, "Open for business." There are legal requirements that come with opening even a sole proprietorship. If a budding entrepreneur feels that they have been unlawfully denied their chance to open up a business, they should take the steps necessary to protect their legal rights, including pursuing business litigation if necessary.

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