It seems that there are a number of months that go by that we have nothing to report to you as to what is going on on the adult entertainment/First Amendment front in South Florida. Then a month like this comes by and there is a whole slew of things that have occurred that we wish to keep you abreast of.
Some of you may remember, that Curves Cabaret sued the City of West Palm Beach in the summer of 2005. We probably told you in the past, that a preliminary injunction hearing was heard in front of U.S. Magistrate James Hopkins in West Palm Beach. Some of you may even remember that we reported that Magistrate Hopkins ruled on seven of the eight grounds in favor of Curves Cabaret against the City of West Palm Beach. The other ground, the eighth, Judge Hopkins did not rule against Curves, but rather decided that there was no need to go into that issue as Curves had won on all the other issues.
Since that time, the parties have been trying to work out a settlement to avoid this case going any further. Benjamin & Aaronson is happy to announce, that a settlement has been entered into and one that is quite favorable for Curves. Based upon the settlement, Curves Cabaret no longer has to worry about its grandfather status and is in fact grandfathered in for nudity along with alcoholic beverages in the City of West Palm Beach. Further, the City will not interfere with Curve’s occupational license and Curves will be receiving the same. Most importantly, although Curves only has a 2COP license at this time, nothing in the settlement prohibits Curves Cabaret from suing the City if necessary to obtain a 4COP or for Curves to negotiate with the City in the future to have its 2COP changed to a 4COP.
In essence, almost everything that Curves was seeking in its Federal lawsuit, Curves received. As to whether or not Curves ever receives it 4COP alcoholic beverage license, we will keep you informed of that in the future. Hopefully, the news that Curves has a 4COP will be one that will come shortly by way of negotiation. However, if it does not come this way, Benjamin & Aaronson is prepared to refile that part of the Federal lawsuit dealing with the 4COP license, forge ahead and ultimately achieve victory.
On other matters in South Florida, the Federal Courts are heating up with suits from adult entertainment establishments against various cities. Last month, Hustler of Hollywood, filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, contending that the City of Miami Beach’s definition of an adult bookstore was unconstitutional. Further, Hustler of Hollywood also contended that the City does not even follow its own definitions of adult entertainment thereby being in further violation of the First Amendment. Benjamin & Aaronson has been hired as local counsel for Hustler of Hollywood working with Hustler’s law firm out of Buffalo, New York. As this case progresses, we will keep you informed of what is going on, how the case is progressing, and of course ultimately with anticipated news of victory.
For those of you who do not know, a new dance club opened up in the City of Davie. Club Eden opened up for business in the Town of Davie as a nightclub and shortly therefore, filed suit to have the Davie Code declared unconstitutional on several grounds. On behalf of Eden, Benjamin & Aaronson, filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, contending that the Town of Davie had a virtual zone out of adult entertainment establishments, making their Code unconstitutional, that their special exception procedures were unconstitutional, that the requirements of where adult entertainment had to locate was unconstitutional and that their moratorium that no adult entertainment could locate in Davie was also unconstitutional. Again, this suit is at its earliest stages and when more information arises in this suit, we will be happy to inform you about it.
The City of Lauderhill has also found itself in federal court. Benjamin & Aaronson on behalf of University Video Enterprises, Inc. filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Lauderhill contending that various provisions of the City of Lauderhill Code were unconstitutional. Included in those provisions that Benjamin & Aaronson believed were unconstitutional, were not only the adult entertainment code provisions, but also the City’s code enforcement and licensing provisions. This suit was brought about, not by University Video Enterprises, Inc., but rather by the City of Lauderhill who after years of having no problems with University Video, all of a sudden decided that University Video was now an adult store and therefore needed to be closed down.
Among other parts of the lawsuit, Benjamin & Aaronson on behalf of University Video has contended and are contending that the City’s code enforcement procedures that they are trying to use to close down University Video, are unconstitutional and therefore cannot even be employed. Further, Benjamin & Aaronson has also challenged the definitions of adult establishments in Lauderhill believing that they are all unconstitutional.
As noted above, most of these lawsuits that have just been filed, are at their earliest stages. As these litigations proceed, Benjamin & Aaronson will keep you informed of their progress. But one thing is for sure, looking at what has transpired over the last month or so, the adult entertainment industry in South Florida is tired of being kicked around and has made up its mind that it is going to fight back.