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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides Wis. case re damages to strip club owners

In Six Star Holdings, LLC v. City of Milwaukee (ED Wis.), a 15-page opinion, Chief Judge Wood writes:

This case requires us to visit the world of strip clubs—establishments that no one seems to want, officially, but that are somehow quite lucrative. Prior to March 1, 2012, the City of Milwaukee had various licensing requirements for this type of place, but it no longer defends their constitutionality. * * *

Before us now are two Milwaukee ordinances, now re-pealed, that required certain licenses before a business was permitted to offer nude or partially nude entertainment. * * *

Two companies—Six Star Holdings, LLC, which applied for a license under one of these ordinances, and Ferol, LLC, which did not—challenged these ordinanc-es, seeking injunctive relief and damages. Once the ordi-nances were repealed, the plaintiffs dropped their requests for injunctive relief but continued to pursue damages. The latter request saves the case from mootness. See Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home, Inc. v. W. Va. Dep’t of Health & Human Res., 532 U.S. 598, 608–09 (2001). The district court held that the ordinances addressed time, place, and manner of expression, but that they did not include the necessary procedural safe-guards. A jury then decided that but for the unconstitutional ordinances, Ferol would have opened a club providing nude entertainment. It awarded Ferol compensatory damages in the form of lost profits, and gave Six Star nominal damages.

The City has appealed. It argues that Ferol had no injury and therefore no standing to challenge the ordinances. It also challenges Ferol’s theory of causation and the award of nominal damages to Six Star. Finding no merit in any of these points, we affirm the district court’s judgment. * * *

The City is fighting a losing battle over a regime whose time has passed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 13, 2016 01:18 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions