11th Circuit Court of Appeals handed the ‘City of Brookhaven’ a victory in their federal lawsuit against Stardust Adult Stores.  The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued their ruling Aug. 10, that Stardust must comply with the city’s ordinance and stop selling sex toys.

The three-judge panel court denied claims by Stardust adult stores located at 3007 Buford Hwy NE in Atlanta that the ordinance of the City of Brookhaven is unconstitutional and infringed on its First Amendment right to display sexual devices. City Attorney Chris Balch praised the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion to the press.

“The ‘City of Brookhaven’ is committed to having constitutionally sound and enforceable ordinances to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents and guests,” said City Attorney Chris Blach in a prepared statement.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is part of a legal battle that has ensued since the days of the city’s incorporation in 2012. Weeks after the city was incorporated, the adult-oriented business began selling “sexual devices” which the city contends violated city ordinance.

The ‘City of Brookhaven’ began code enforcement against Stardust for selling sex toys.  ‘City of Brookhaven’  officials deemed the sex toys as illegal under its ordinances. The tension between the city and Stardust Adult Stores picked up heat when in 2013, Stardust had been cited by code enforcement more than 500 times.

The city says that Stardust Adult Stores cannot operate legally because of its close proximity to another sexually oriented business, the Pink Pony. They also said that because it did not clearly define what kind of business it was when it applied for a business license, the city felt deceived.

Stardust adult stores, Atlanta

Representing the city in the Stardust lawsuit is Scott Bergthold, a Tennessee attorney who specializes in municipal laws cracking down on sexually oriented businesses. Bergthold represented Brookhaven in its lawsuit against the ‘Pink Pony’ which resulted in a 2014 settlement in which the strip club agreed to close down in 2020 while also paying the city $225,000 a year to cover police costs.

Back in 2016, U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross ruled in favor of City of Brookhaven vs Stardust Adult Stores.  Stardust then appealed the case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Jill Pryor wrote the 11th Circuit opinion:

“When drafting the code the city relied on — and cited — dozens of studies and cases linking the operation of adult businesses to negative secondary effects. This evidence is sufficient to establish that the code, in general, advances the city’s legitimate interest in regulating those effects,” wrote Judge Pryor.

Judge Pryor further wrote…“Stardust has presented no evidence disputing the city’s rationale or factual findings. Instead, Stardust relies on rhetorical questions, asking, for example, ‘Who is harmed by a retail store advertising — inside its premises — sexual devices in a way that ‘gives special prominence to’ them?’ This kind of speculative reasoning is insufficient to survive summary judgment.”


City Attorney Balch added…“The appellate court specifically held that the city’s regulation of establishments like Stardust ‘furthers the city’s interest in avoiding the secondary effects of adult businesses,’” said Balch. “We look forward to seeing Stardust’s full compliance with the city’s ordinances and the permanent injunction entered against the store by the DeKalb County Superior Court.” said Balch.

Stardust attorney Cary Wiggins, said he and his client are “exploring all options.”

Article by: Andy Powell, Staff Writer

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