GENE LOVELACE ENTERPRISES, LLC ET AL. v. CITY OF KNOXVILLE - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Dec 15, 2014

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Arthur G. Seymour, Jr., and Matthew A. Grossman, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Gene Lovelace Enterprises, LLC a/k/a Last Chance Theatre & Musical Club 2000 at Alcoa Highway, and Bambi’s LLC.

Attorneys 2:

Scott D. Bergthold, Stephen S. Duggins, and Bryan A. Dykes, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, the City of Knoxville.

Judge(s): FRIERSON

This case involves the enforceability of an ordinance enacted by the City of Knoxville to impose licensing requirements for owners and employees of sexually oriented businesses. Plaintiffs, Gene Lovelace Enterprises, LLC a/k/a Last Chance Theatre & Musical Club 2000 at Alcoa Highway and Eugene Lovelace d/b/a Bambi’s, filed this action against the City, seeking a judgment declaring the ordinance unconstitutional and an injunction prohibiting enforcement. A similar action was subsequently filed by plaintiffs, Business Financial Services of Knoxville, Inc. d/b/a West Knoxville News and Katch One, Inc. d/b/a Katch One Lounge. The two cases were consolidated. The City filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the City Council had appropriately enacted the ordinance to combat negative secondary effects caused by sexually oriented businesses. The plaintiffs presented evidence that there were no negative secondary effects associated with such businesses in the Knoxville area, including expert opinions and a study based on empirical data from the relevant locality. The trial court granted summary judgment to the City, finding that “relevant authorities cited by the City establish that the ordinance in question is of a type which may be validly and constitutionally enacted by a municipality such as defendant.” Gene Lovelace Enterprises, LLC and Bambi’s LLC have appealed that ruling. We reverse the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the City and remand the case for further proceedings.

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