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Supreme Court sides with Brookhaven in Pink Pony lawsuit | Business

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Supreme Court sides with Brookhaven in Pink Pony lawsuit
Business, News, Weird
Supreme Court sides with Brookhaven in Pink Pony lawsuit

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has dismissed a strip club's lawsuit against the City of Brookhaven.

The Pink Pony opened on Corporate Boulevard near Buford Highway in November 1990. It was licensed by DeKalb County to allow nude dancing while serving alcohol and food.

Brookhaven became a city on Dec. 17, 2012. The Pink Pony is located in the newly incorporated city's southernmost area.

Less than a month after achieving cityhood, Brookhaven's city council passed a Sexually Oriented Business Code that prohibits alcohol sales in businesses featuring fully nude dancing.

The Pink Pony and its owner, Trop Inc., sued the City of Brookhaven in May 2013, saying the business ordinance was unconstitutional and violated the club's free speech right. Trop Inc. also argued the Pink Pony's agreement with DeKalb County exempted it from the ordinance.

Brookhaven officials said adult entertainment venues often create "adverse secondary effects," such as trafficking, prostitution, urban blight, drug use and public indecency, and that serving alcohol increases the risk of those effects.

A trial court sided with the City of Brookhaven, so the Pink Pony appealed to the state's high court.

A Supreme Court of Georgia justice wrote in an opinion released Monday that the lower court "did not err by finding that ... Brookhaven's sexually-oriented business ordinance does not unconstitutionally infringe upon Pink Pony's free speech rights." The justice said the city's goal of avoiding criminal activity and neighborhood deterioration is "not related to any desire to suppress speech."

City leaders released this statement Monday afternoon:

"Today, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed that the City of Brookhaven is not bound by Pink Pony's agreement with DeKalb County, and that Brookhaven's sexually oriented business ordinance is constitutional as a matter of law. The City will continue to defend all of its ordinances. The Council's adoption of legally-valid regulations—like those in place in DeKalb County and in cities across Georgia—has never been about one business, but about having sound ordinances that protect the long-term interests of the City and its residents."

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