Injunction to Prevent License Ordinance

In Bueneman v. City of Santa Barbara (1937) 8 Cal. 2d 405 [65 P.2d 884, 109 A.L.R. 895], the plaintiff brought an action to restrain enforcement of a license ordinance imposing a $ 200 license fee on laundries that picked up and delivered laundry in the City of Santa Barbara but performed the work of laundering outside the city. No fee was imposed on laundries that did the laundering inside the city. The court held that the ordinance violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and sections 13 and 21 of article I of the California Constitution by denying the plaintiff the equal protection of the laws and by granting privileges and immunities to one class of citizens which are not accorded to all citizens similarly situated. In a terse two-paragraph discussion, the court also ruled that an action may be maintained to restrain the enforcement of a license ordinance. The court observed that the principle that " 'an injunction cannot be granted to prevent the execution of a public statute by officers of the law for the public benefit'. . . does not apply to an unconstitutional statute or ordinance." (Bueneman, supra, at p. 407.) It also discussed the proposition that a court of equity will entertain a suit brought to test the validity of an enactment under which a person is facing criminal prosecution. The court did not discuss the enjoining of the collection of a tax nor the public policy against such a procedure.