(Reuters) – New York City’s ban on large sugary drinks from restaurants, movie theaters and other establishments was invalidated on Monday by a state judge as “arbitrary and capricious,” a day before it was to take effect.

The 11-hour decision was a blow to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose top lawyer quickly vowed to appeal. Bloomberg has made public health a cornerstone of his administration, with laws prohibiting smoking in restaurants, bars and parks; banning trans fats; and requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts.

New York City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo vowed to appeal and keep pressing the mayor’s case that the new law is needed to combat a growing obesity epidemic. The mayor successfully fought off past court challenges to the smoking ban and the calorie count rule.

“We plan to appeal the decision as soon as possible, and we are confident the Board of Health’s decision will ultimately be upheld,” Cardozo said in a statement.

Beverage manufacturers, restaurant and movie theater owners and other business groups had called the soda law an illegal overreach that would infringe upon consumers’ personal liberty.

The regulation would have prohibited the city’s food-service establishments from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces (47 cl) starting on Tuesday, though city officials had said they would not begin imposing $200 fines on offending businesses until June. Read More