Judge orders city to pay $1 to would-be strip-club owner
A federal judge has ordered the city of Seattle to pay $1 to a businessman whose rights were violated when the city delayed issuing him a permit to open a strip club, finding that the would-be club owner could not prove his claims that he had lost more than $1.6 million because of the delay.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A federal judge has ordered the city of Seattle to pay $1 to a businessman whose rights were violated when the city delayed issuing him a permit to open a strip club, finding that he could not prove his claims that he had lost more than $1.6 million because of the delay.
The award, though nominal, allows Bob Davis and his company, ATL, to ask U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik to award attorneys' fees in the case, which was filed in 2009.
The city has said it will oppose paying the fees, said Seattle City Attorney's Office spokeswoman Kimberly Mills.
Calls to Davis' attorney were not immediately returned.
Lasnik previously had found that the city violated Davis' rights by failing to accept ATL's completed permit application.
In his suit, Davis claimed the city obstructed his efforts to convert an Aurora Avenue North restaurant, Cyndy's House of Pancakes, into a strip club. Davis challenged the city's requirement that he obtain a license and comply with a zoning ordinance that required "adult cabarets" to be sited away from schools, community centers, child-care centers and public parks.
Lasnik found the city's licensing ordinance failed to provide applicants with a time frame in which the city must issue a license if its requirements are met. As a result, the judge said, the ordinance could allow a city to delay issuing a license indefinitely.
In a previous lawsuit, also filed by Davis, Lasnik had ruled that the city's "adult entertainment premises license" requirement was unconstitutional for failing to set a deadline for when the city had to rule on applications. Davis won $500,000 in damages as a result of that lawsuit, which was filed in 2005.
Davis won $350,000 from the city of Bothell in 2008 for a similar lawsuit.
However, Lasnik said that Davis, in the most recent lawsuit, failed to prove that the city's actions caused ATL any economic loss, particularly since the club never opened.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or email@example.com
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.